MARLBOROUGH- Over 175,000 men are expected to be diagnosed with some form of male cancer this year. Here in Marlborough, one mother daughter duo has teamed up to help men across America fight back by speaking up.
Hank's Heart was co-founded by Lee Riani and her daughter Maggie in memory of a loving father and husband who passed away following his battle with a rare form of male cancer. The Riani women described Hank as an "anchor": the "strong, silent type" that held together their family. Wearing an anchor symbol now on the sleeve of the foundation's T-shirt, the Rianis have made it their mission to inspire men everywhere to speak up about their health concerns. "Most men are silent when they have a health issue," Maggie Riani explains. "We need to get them talking about it so we can help them in the battle."
Despite his diagnosis at 75 years old, Maggie explained that her father had been adamant about making sure that doctors at Mass General could learn more about how to treat the disease by putting himself through countless tests and surgeries. Understanding the costs associated with such treatments and experimental procedures, the Riani women focus their energy now on helping others. "No one, as you're going through treatments and going through this disease, should have to worry about how a bill is being paid," says Maggie.
On October 28th, just days before what would have been his Halloween birthday, the Riani women will be hosting an all you can eat pancake breakfast to raise money for families like their own. The event, which will take place at the Marlboro Moose Lodge at 8:00am, will include a toppings bar, bacon or sausage, and several raffles. Tickets are $7 for adults, and $3 for children under 10.
While the Riani women continue to rally in helping those around them financially, they never lose focus on their mission of raising awareness. "Henry often said, you play the hand that you're dealt," says Lee, who delivers a strong message to men everywhere. "Swallow your pride, and go. It's nothing that your doctor hasn't heard or seen before."
To hear more about Hank's Heart, watch the full video below: