In modern history, one reads of ordinary people who through hard work have achieved a high level of success. Not content to keep amassing their fortunes, many people of these success stories often use their own funds and time helping make the world a better place. Names like Andrew Carnegie by building libraries; John Rockefeller by donating vast amounts of private land into public domains; and Bill Gates by helping to eradicate the scourge of polio in the last underdeveloped parts of the world, come to mind. However, we as benefactors of all their generosity feel no connection. They are great people whom we never meet.
However, among this list are Joe and Kathy O’Donnell. Joe is an Everett native who grew up on Spring Street, attended Immaculate Conception School, then Malden Catholic High School and went on to Harvard University. Out of the public spotlight, and for many years, Joe and Kathy have quietly helped many to achieve a better life.
However, Joe and Kathy have not been quiet about their cause to help find a cure for cystic fibrosis that still claims too many lives. Since losing their son, Joey, to this dreaded disease, Joe, his wife Kathy and their children have spearheaded annual fundraising events for the last 33 years that have raised more than $100 million dollars to help researchers find a cure. Today, a cure is very close thanks to the funding of this research. From families whose loved ones suffer from this terrible disease and from the rest of us, who know that such cures make the world a better place for everyone, we know there is a big thank you to the O’Donnells.