Haverhill Breast Cancer Survivor’s Weekend ‘Rosebud Relay’ and Other Efforts Deliver $40K to Fight Disease

Accepting the donation was, at left, Allison Mannette from the American Cancer Society, from Rose Leonard-Flynn and her husband James. (WHAV News photograph.)

Standing before four giant boxes spelling out the word “HOPE,” Rosie’s Riveters did it again Friday —handing over a $40,000 check to the American Cancer Society to help fight the dreaded disease.

Iconic “Rosie the Riveter” poster from World War II.

Rose Leonard-Flynn, a Haverhill breast cancer survivor, is the force behind the Fourth Annual “Rosebud Relay” which took place over 24 hours from noon, Friday, to noon, Saturday. The $4,000 raised from the walk, plus the proceeds from her “Move for the Movement” dance marathon this past January, comprised the $40,000 donation. Flynn bears a remarkable resemblance to fictional “Rosie the Riveter,” who adorned World War II posters that urged women to work in defense plants. She tapped Rosie’s tenacity and “We Can Do it” resolve and launched the walk when the pandemic forced the annual Relay for Life fundraiser to go virtual.

“I called my team. We decided that we were going to do it in my neighborhood. I got permission from all my neighbors to do it. We do a one-mile loop in my neighborhood and this is our fourth year,” she said.

Flynn was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer 12 years ago at age 44. She first launched “Move for the Movement” 11 years ago, motivated by the love of her husband and two small children. It was conceived by her oldest daughter who is a dancer and takes place every January. Over that time, the massive undertaking has raised $300,000 for the American Cancer Society. This past January, 35 participants performed 5,000 dances across the stage over three days.

New this year to the 40-mile Rosebud Relay was the addition of five-year-old Margaret Arroyo. She started her own team this year called, in her words, “Little Feet to Defeat,” raised more than $1,500 toward the effort.

Flynn said, “I’ve inspired a five-year-old. I don’t know how I did it. Inspired a five-year-old to say, ‘Hey listen, I’m going to do this. We need to raise money. We need to do this because cancer is awful.’”

Flynn’s Pilgrim Road neighbors say they have worked to “paint our street purple” in support. “I sell ribbons to my neighbors. They’re $25 each and I would deliver them.”

Incidentally, Flynn ended up walking the loop a couple of extra times—or 42 miles. Others who wish to help or donate may email Flynn at [email protected].

Comments are closed.