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Jersey fits Schneider ● Ben breaking barriers



WINTER 2018-19

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A publication of Essex Media Group


Edward M. Grant

Chief Executive Officer

Michael H. Shanahan



Heart and sole

of a well-heeled town


02 | 01945


Edward L. Cahill

John M. Gilberg

Edward M. Grant

Gordon R. Hall

Monica Connell Healey

J. Patrick Norton

Michael H. Shanahan

Chief Financial Officer

William J. Kraft

Chief Operating Officer

James N. Wilson

Community Relations Director

Carolina Trujillo


Susan Conti


Paul K. Halloran Jr.

News Editors

Cheryl Charles

Roberto Scalese

Contributing Writers

Bill Brotherton

Gayla Cawley

Bella diGrazia

Thomas Grillo

Thor Jourgensen


Spenser Hasak

Advertising Design

Trevor Andreozzi

Tyler Bernard

Advertising Sales

Ernie Carpenter

David McBournie

Ralph Mitchell

Patricia Whalen


Mark Sutherland


110 Munroe St.,

Lynn, MA 01901

781-593-7700 ext.1234


781-593-7700 ext. 1253

Read online at:


I'm a bit of a shoe freak. Actually, that's a lie or, at the very least, a gross understatement. I'm a full-bore-

Imelda-Marcos-has-nothing-on-me shoe freak. I won't tell you how many pair I own because, other than

your not caring, it would just give my good friend the divorce attorney another reason to call my wife and

get the process started.

Let's just leave it at this: A carpenter friend turned a spare bedroom in my house into a closet and the

shelves he built for shoes fill an entire wall and I couldn't squeeze another pair onto them even with a (get

ready:) shoehorn.

With so many pair, I don't wear many all that often, and some are maybe 20 years old. For that, I thank

Semyon Fox, the owner of Quality Shoe Repair on Atlantic Avenue and the cover boy on this, the third

edition of 01945 The Magazine.

I've been a customer of his for most if not all of the 27 years he's been in business in Marblehead. Even

when I lived in the Back Bay, I'd bring my shoes to him for a shine or new heels or whatever those little

things are that he puts under the toes to prevent scuffing. I wonder if, subconsciously, I moved back to

Marblehead a few years ago to be closer to his shop.

According to Thor Jourgensen's story, Mr. Fox's wife is a retired aesthetician; one daughter is a

microbiologist and the other an electrical engineer; his granddaughter is a mechanical engineer. And he is

a character. A cobbler, certainly, but first and foremost a character.

Through his thick Ukrainian accent comes a wry sense of humor. He'll ask when you need your shoes

and you tell him, say, Thursday, and he'll say, no — pick them up Wednesday.

It's cash on the barrelhead — in advance. And I swear he has been using the same ticket stubs since he set up

shop. He writes the customer's phone number — in pencil — on his portion of the stub, and the day they'll be

ready on the customer's. He'll ask to watch you put the stub in your wallet so it won't get lost, because when you

come to retrieve your shoes he'll erase the information and reuse the stubs over and over and over.

I once was running late and couldn't get to his place before closing time, so I asked the aforementioned

Jansi Chandler Grant to pick them up for me on her way home. He gave her the shoes — but only after

he made me promise to slip the stub into his mailbox that night. (I did. I like my shoes, remember.)

Mr. Fox is 78, so I don't know how much longer he'll be doing what he does. But I will tell you that

Marblehead wouldn't be the same without him.

My closet certainly wouldn't be.

Not that you need other reasons to read this edition of 01945, but there are several. Steve Krause goes

between the pipes with Cory Schneider; Bella diGrazia chronicles the amazing recovery of Ben Farrar; a

new program at the YMCA is benefiting cancer patients young and old; and a chat with Mrs. Claus.

We think we've cobbled together a pretty good edition. Hope you agree.


04 Did you know?

15 Sole man

05 What's up

18 Jersey fits Schneider

06 Sew good

20 Ben breaks barriers

09 Mrs. Claus and effect 22 Local flavor

10 Style

24 Cornering cancer

12 House money

28 Picture this

14 Rough seas for Mariner 30 Marblehead lobstermen


Semyon Fox repairs

the sole of a shoe in

his workspace at his

Marblehead shop.


Spenser Hasak

Photo Credits: Cory Silken

Interior Design • Retail Showroom

Diana James

East Coast Design Inc.

34 Atlantic Avenue

Marblehead, MA 01945

(781) 990-5150


04 | 01945



Marblehead was the first

community in Massachusetts

to give free textbooks to its

students, which was in 1873.

Before that, students had to pay for their

own books and supplies.


Marblehead was the first town

in Massachusetts to respond to

President Abraham Lincoln's call

for troops in 1861 for the start of

the Civil War. Capt. Knott Martin commanded

the first regiment that ended up reporting for

duty at Faneuil Hall in Boston, proceeded on and

marched to Washington D.C.


Here Comes Santa Claus!

WHAT: The Annual Christmas Walk

One of the finest holiday happenings in

the North Shore, Marblehead's Christmas

weekend highlights the town's historic

charm and festive spirit with a truly

enchanting experience.

WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 29 to Sunday, Dec. 2




5 to 8 p.m., Retailers throughout Town



5 to 7 p.m., King Hooper Mansion, 8 Hooper





By Gayla Cawley

Donald Doliber, town historian, says

by legend his family founded the

town. A Doliber was one of the first

settlers in Marblehead.

There's debate about where the

birthplace of the American Navy

is, with the main rivalry between

Marblehead and Beverly. Others

recognize Whitehall, N.Y. Doliber said

the claim is never officially going to

be decided, but "we in Marblehead

know the real birthplace."

Doliber, a former history teacher

and Marblehead native, shared five

other things people may not know

about the town.

you didn't

know about



The town had the first Brownie

troop in the United States,

founded by Marie Dennett in

1916. Troops can then advance

to become full-fledged Girl Scouts.


Marblehead is the home of

the Joe Frogger cookie, a

Molasses-spice cookie made

with rum that dates back to

Colonial times. The cookie was made to be

about the size of a dinner plate. Housewives

would make them and then pack the cookies

in sailors' bags, who would take them on

board as they went to the Grand Banks. The

cookies would get rid of the salty taste in

their mouths. Legend says the cookies were

originally made on Gingerbread Hill in town.


In 1973, Marblehead served as

a frequent day trip for a seal

from Rockport, Maine. Andre

the seal would keep coming

back to Marblehead Harbor until he died in

1979. Residents would always look forward to

having Andre show up.



5 to 6:30 p.m., Jeremiah Lee Mansion,

161 Washington Street


6 p.m., Festivities Begin

7 p.m., Lighting

St. Michael’s Church, 26 Pleasant Street



4 to 6:30 p.m., 123 Pleasant Street


4 to 6 p.m., Jeremiah Lee Mansion,

161 Washington Street


6 p.m., Entertainment & Festivities Begin

7 p.m., Lighting

National Grand Bank Parking Lot

(across from 91 Pleasant Street)



7:15 p.m., Lighting

Mud Puddle Toys, 1 Pleasant Street



Performances by “A Dancer’s Dream”

9 a.m., State Street Landing


State Street Landing



10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Abbot Hall

MAGIC 106.7 -



11 a.m. to 4 p.m., 28 Atlantic Ave (Phillips & Lee)


11:45 a.m., State Street Landing, Washington

Street, Atlantic Avenue, and Pleasant Street


10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Jeremiah Lee Mansion,

161 Washington Street


10 a.m. to 5 p.m., along Atlantic Avenue



Noon to 4 p.m., 1 Market Square



4:30 p.m., Old Town House


8 p.m., Old North Church,

35 Washington Street



Noon to 2 p.m., Jeremiah Lee Mansion,

161 Washington Street



10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Abbot Hall,

188 Washington Street


Noon to 4 p.m., along Atlantic Avenue



Noon to 4 p.m., 1 Market Square


7:30 p.m., Old North Church,

35 Washington Street

Bah! Humbug!

WHAT: A theatrical reading of the

Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol.

Performed by a small ensemble of actors,

the Christmas story will come to life

throughout the town's historic mansion

with the use of period costumes, clever

props, and caroling. One lucky audience

member will be chosen to portray the role

of "Tiny Tim!" $30 for adults and $20 for

children 10 and under.

WHEN: Friday, Dec. 7 at 8 p.m., and

Saturday, Dec. 8, at 12 p.m. and 4 p.m.

WHERE: Jeremiah Lee Mansion,

161 Washington St.

06 | 01945 WINTER 2018-19 | 07

Sew good


Charlie Katsoulakos describes his

well-used Singer sewing machines as "old

but good." The same praise could apply

to the 92-year-old tailor whose sign with

its distinctive needle and spool hangs

above Pleasant Street.

Working off of a neatly-arranged

sewing bench, Katsoulakos accepts

walk-in requests to stitch ripped or torn

clothes while customers wait and waves

off customer offers to pay for the repairs.

He points with pride at wedding photos

showing bridesmaids wearing his tailored

dresses with precision-cut hems standing

next to poorly-tailored dresses.

Quick with a smile and in business

for 55 years, Katsoulakos' definition

of advertising is word-of-mouth

compliments passed on from customers

to friends and acquaintances.

"Whatever I do, it's done right. Very


rarely does someone come back with a

complaint," he said.

Katsoulakos has worked with scissors,

thread and needles since the age of 14

when he learned the tailor's art from

his father. He was a teenager when the

German Army conquered Greece and

brutally occupied the country. When the

war ended, father and son worked together

making, mending and altering clothes.

"We had a store in Athens but the

economy was so bad we couldn't both

make a living," he said.

He left Greece in 1955 and landed a

job in a New York City clothing factory

two days after arriving in the country.

The language barrier proved difficult and

Katsoulakos took a Greek friend up on

his offer to move to Malden.

"I rented a room and found a job. All

of the stores were busy," he said.

He also met his wife, the late Helen

Zantos. They were married within

six months and dove into hard work

and raising their son, Michael, and

daughter, Cathy. Katsoulakos worked

days in a tailor shop and spent evenings

doing alterations for clothing stores. A

Swampscott store owner admired his

work and urged him to open his own

shop in Marblehead.

"He said there were more people with

more money," he recalled.

08 | 01945

WINTER 2018-19 | 09

He took that advice and made the

town his livelihood as well as his home.

He lives off West Shore Drive and spent

hours in the waters off Marblehead

fishing aboard his boat, "Katina."

"Marblehead people are very nice and

very polite," he said.

The basics of good tailoring haven't

altered (pun intended) since he first

picked up a needle. Fancy evening wear

with frames sewn into gowns and tailored

jackets to give them structure have largely

disappeared. With age he has stopped

doing major alterations on men's suits

because of the time involved, but he'll

tackle all and any other fashions.

Katsoulakos opens his shop by 8:30

a.m and stays open through late afternoon

except on Saturdays when he closes at 2

p.m. He is closed Mondays and fends off

his son, Michael's, jokes about retirement.

"He says, 'Why do you want to

quit? You make money to pay your bills

and the rest you can spend on scratch

tickets,'" he joked.

His grandchildren and greatgrandchildren

aren't interested in

tailoring but Katsoulakos is willing to

train a sewing-minded apprentice.

"If they want to put hours in, they can

make a living," he said.

Tailor Charlie Katsoulakos does a test-fit on a suit for Marblehead attorney Thomas Toranto.



(New Location to be Announced)


65% OFF


In The Store

Mrs. Claus and effect

In an exclusive interview with 01945

The Magazine, Mrs. Claus reminisced

about the three decades she has been

visiting the children of Marblehead on a

lobster boat.

"Santa asked me if I would like

to go visit a charming little town in

Massachusetts where there are lovely

children," she said. "Santa asked me if I

wanted to go with him and I did. But I

had to ride in a fishing boat, which I had

never been on before."

She stepped aboard her first lobster

boat at the age of 39.

Thirty-three years, and 33 boat rides

later, she can't imagine the Christmas

season any other way. The event is a

highlight of the town's long-standing

Christmas Walk tradition, which has been

around for almost 50 years. The day after

the Christmas tree lighting, upwards of

1,000 children fill the parking lot behind

The Landing Restaurant in anticipation of

Mrs. Claus and her hubby.

Laura Best, a close friend of Mrs.

Claus (wink, wink) said if Mrs. Claus

changes her outfit, her hair, her jewelry

during a visit, the children take notice.

One year, Mrs. Claus wore different

perfume and the children of Marblehead

called her a fake, she said.

Mrs. Claus' hair turned white

when she was in her 30s, and she soon

Mrs. Claus has been Santa's loyal companion when visiting Marblehead over the last 33 years.

recognized her calling was to become the

first lady of the North Pole. For more

than three decades she has been the

friendly face many children need when

they're too nervous to sit on Santa's lap.

"He's loud, he has a giant beard, and he

horrifies kids," she said. "The parents stand

in this long line to see Santa and they get

up there and they scream and run. We

say 'we've got another runner.' But if I'm

sitting next to him and I bring them over,

they can sit in my lap and talk to him and

within seconds they are on his lap."

Five or six Santas have come and

gone, as have a few boat captains, but

Mrs. Claus has remained the same.

"I'm at the point where I'm known

throughout Marblehead as Mrs. Claus,"

she said. "I've been on many Christmas

cards. The kids look at you and the

wonder and the amazement in their eyes

— it's priceless and very rewarding to

have done it all these years."

She has no plans to retire, but hopes

that one day, her daughter can try on the

magical outfit, that is worn just once a

year, and become the next Mrs. Claus of


Celebrating 36 years

Monday-Friday • 10-6 Saturday • 10-5 Sunday 12-4

427 Paradise Rd (Vinnin Square) • (781) 599-8829 • infinityboutique@verizon.net

10 | 01945 WINTER 2018-19 | 11





It's that time of year when all of our money has gone to holiday gifts for the people

we love most. Now, you need a look for the holiday party, without breaking the

bank. She Boutique has the trends and the deals.


J Available at She Boutique, 86 Washington St.

Black high-waisted skinny jeans, $88

Grey and black "All Business" check-print jacket, $68

Silver emblem choker, $18

Silver droplet, statement necklace, $18

Red bell-sleeve blouse, $38

Olive houndstooth circle mini skirt, $42

Black cable knit turtleneck, $58

12 | 01945 WINTER 2018-19 | 13



SALE PRICE: $2,250,000

SALE DATE: 10/31/2018

LIST PRICE: $2,475,000



95 Beacon St.

PREVIOUS SALE PRICE: $750,000 (land


LIVING AREA: 4,767 Sq. Ft.



1 Driftwood Road

SALE PRICE: $1,930,000

SALE DATE: 11/14/2018

LIST PRICE: $1,950,000





LIVING AREA: 4,264 Sq. Ft.



Source: MLS Property Information Network.

11 Crown Way

SALE PRICE: $1,860,000

SALE DATE: 9/7/2018

LIST PRICE: $4,300,000



VALUE: $3,300,800


$ 1,176,000



LIVING AREA: 6,265 Sq. Ft.





Residential Customer

Marblehead, MA 01945








Target your message

to an affluent audience

Rough seas

for Mariner


When Swampscott was a resort ● The hero behind Blocksidge Field



Rendering of the Mariner assisted-living facility.


Fall features food and fun and fashion

FALL 2018


Kathy O'Toole is



FALL 2018

Contact us at:



Developers call it the Mariner, and

the project is weathering rough seas on

its way to becoming Marblehead's first

assisted-living facility.

Developers Michael Lafayette,

Heather Cairns and Phil Helmes, of

Pleasant Street LLC, won approval

from the town last year for the Mariner

and they have plans on track for an

87-apartment development on Pleasant

Street. But two neighbors have filed

separate appeals in Essex Superior

Court challenging the legality of the

town's Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA)

approval of the project last year.

Lafayette declined comment while

litigation is pending.

The 108-bed facility would include

a memory-care component and the

4.5-acre site will feature parks, walking

paths, seating areas, patios and gardens.

The residences would include private

dining, a restaurant, pub, cafe, beauty

salon, health and wellness room, library

and movie theater, according to the

developer's website. The site will include

70 parking spaces.

During the town permitting process,

Mariner attorney Paul Feldman said

there is a real need for assisted living in

Marblehead, citing census figures that

showed seniors 65 and older are the

town's largest age group.

Getting town approval for the

project was no cakewalk for the

developers. The ZBA denied the

developers’ application to build the

assisted-living facility in 2016, leading

Lafayette, Cairns and Helms to

appeal the board's decision with the

Massachusetts Land Court, challenging

the legality of the vote.

The Land Court judge remanded the

matter back to the ZBA last year, with

the board opting to approve the project,

reversing its previous decision.

The Mariner has been a contentious

issue among neighbors, as evidenced by

the appeals filed in Essex Superior Court,

with some arguing that the facility would

not fit in with a neighborhood of singlefamily





16 | 01945 WINTER 2018-19 | 17

Smack dab in the middle of

town just down Atlantic

Avenue from Shubie's,

Semyon Fox, owner of

Quality Shoe Repair, fixes

shoes and purses and doles

out dry humor in a funnylooking

little green shop.

The space in front of his counter

is the only place to stand in the shop

without bumping into shelves and wall

hooks lined with shoes and purses.

"A lady didn't pick up her shoes for

six months. I told her she should come

in and get them and she said, 'I can't,

they're out of style by now,'" he said.

He has owned a shop in town for 27

years and Marblehead residents have

been good to him. Fox, in turn, has been

good to them.

"I have people who I have charged

$25 and I've let them pay me $5 a week,"

he said.

A native of Kiev, Ukraine (he changed

his last name spelling from "Fuks"), Fox

said he started working at the age of 6

chopping wood. At 78, he is old enough

to remember German prisoner of war

labor gangs rebuilding Kiev after World

War II. A weightlifter and wrestler in his

youth, he served in the Soviet army and

eschewed his father's trade as a roofer to

learn shoemaking.

He earned a college degree and in

1979, Fox and his wife, Genya, decided

to get their young daughters, Margaret

and Victoria, out of the Soviet Union.

They embarked on an odyssey that

resembled a John le Carre plot line

stretching across three years.

The family endured Cold War

interrogation after interrogation, biding

their time in Austria, then Italy, as they

answered questions and submitted to

Semyon Fox is the owner of Quality Shoe Repair in Marblehead.


background checks. They finally settled

in Albany, N.Y., where Fox sized up his

prospects and searched for shoe repairers.

"I had zero English and zero money.

But I said I can make shoes just as well,

maybe better, than you."

He found work and Genya, who

trained in the Soviet Union as a

midwife, worked stitching handbags.

A move to Lynn put Fox in the first

wave of Russians coming to the United

States late in the 20th century to trade

communism for capitalism.

Although he learned basic English

from watching American television, his

business skills needed honing.

"My first shop sign was made

out of cardboard and the words were

misspelled," he recalled.

The first shop he opened turned out

to be in a bad location for his business.

His second store on Franklin Street

prospered for 10 years until Lynn's

French-American population faded away.

Positive word-of-mouth advertising

kept him in business and he jumped

at the chance to set up shop in the

Atlantic Avenue building when the

opportunity arose. He said he has

survived while other shoe repair shops

have closed because no job is too small

for him.

He'll stitch a broken purse strap

and suggest additional work when

customers such as Rick Humphrey

walk into the shop. He charged the

Marblehead resident $30 to repair a

pair of loafers.

"What he does is an art and he is a

professional," Humphrey said.

Fox is a master of understatement when

he says, "I haven't made too bad of a living."

His wife became an aesthetician and

is now retired. His daughters live locally;

one is a microbiologist and the other an

electrical engineer. His granddaughter,

Marie Hiett, became a mechanical engineer

after graduating with honors. Successes

aside, Fox has no retirement plans.

"Retire? What will I do? Watch TV

and fall asleep. I like working," he said.

WINTER 2018-19 | 19

New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider (35) stops a shot by Detroit Red Wings center Luke Glendening (41). PHOTOS: AP/PAUL SANCYA

Jersey fits Schneider


appearances in the NCAA finals.

Unfortunately for him, the Eagles lost

both games — to Wisconsin in 2006 and

Michigan State the following season.

"It was still a good experience," he

said. "There was a lot I learned about

facing that kind of pressure, and big-game

experience. The exposure was good, too.

"You only get so many opportunities

to shine. You have to embrace as many of

them as you can."

Schneider maintained his academic

standing in college — so much so that

he was named to two Hockey East

All-Academic teams. He also earned

the Paul Patrick Daley Student-Athlete

Scholarship in 2006.

In 2004, just as he was getting out

of high school, Schneider was the No. 1

draft choice for the Canucks, and joined

the organization in 2008.

By 2010, he was with the parent club

on a full-time basis, backing up Robert


Even though he grew up in Bruins

country, Schneider admired New York

Rangers goalie Mike Richter because of

his success as an American goalie (he

wears Richter's No. 35 now).

Schneider saw action twice in the

2011 Stanley Cup final, including once at

TD Garden when

the Bruins went out

to a big lead right

away in Game 6.

"That was a

tough series allaround,"

he said.

"I kind of felt it

from both sides. I

grew up here, but

I certainly wanted

our team to win.

"The Bruins

were a great team,"

he said, "and they


One thing

he was happy to

experience growing

up here was the

passion the sport

brings out.

"It's great to

see," he said.

He is also be grateful to the

Marblehead Youth Hockey program for

helping in his development.

"Guys like Phil Somersby (whose son,

Doyle, played for Boston University and

is now part of the Columbus Blue Jackets

Organization), they were great to me.

your space?

How will you reclaim

"It's kind of

weird to see Doyle's

now playing in

the pros," said

Schneider. "I

remember the day

he was born."

He credits Joe

Pickering with

turning him into

a goalie, and has

a soft spot in his

heart for the late

Howie Doliber, a

former Marblehead

High coach.

"He was the salt

of the earth," said


For now,

Schneider's goal is

to get his timing

down and earn his

way back onto the ice.

"It's different now," said Schneider, who

lives in Short Hills, N.J., with his wife, Jill,

and two children. "There's no No. 1 and

No. 2. With the games the way they are,

everybody's going to play, and you have to

earn your way onto the ice. Coaches are

going to ride that hot hand."

There's nothing quite as unsettling in

professional sports as an injury.

Ask Marblehead native Cory


Schneider has worked diligently to

climb up the professional hockey ladder.

After playing at Boston College, he did a

minor league stint and then a backup gig

for the Vancouver Canucks that included

appearances in two Stanley Cup final

games against the Boston Bruins.

Five years ago, he got the break he

had been looking for when he moved

from the Canucks to the New Jersey

Devils, where he blossomed. Two years

ago, playing 60 games, he had a goalsagainst

average of 2.82; and last year, in

only 40 games, it was 2.92.

The reason for playing 20 fewer games

last year was not due to poor play; he

got injured. Specifically, he had a torn

labrum, something he calls "a wear-andtear


This meant surgery, rehab, and a late

start to this season. He's just getting back

into the swing of things.

"I was just cleared to play a week or

so ago," said Schneider, who was still

rounding into shape in mid-November,

having started three games and lost them


Schneider was a rink and a pond rat

growing up in Marblehead. But, oddly

enough, he didn't exactly dream of

playing in the National Hockey League.

"Things happened fast," he said. "One

day, I'm skating on Redd's Pond, and

now, here I am. I never really had time to

think about it, or plan it, or dream about


"I always loved the game. And I had a

lot of fun playing it."

Schneider spent his freshman

season at Marblehead High, where

he said he enjoyed the experience of

playing Magician hockey. After that,

he transferred to Phillips Academy in


"I got a good education there, and

I played better hockey," he said. "And

things broke right for me there, too."

His diligence paid off. As a senior,

he received Phillips-Andover's Yale

Bowl and the Boston Bruins' John

Carlton Memorial Trophy — both

for achievement in scholarship and


Schneider enrolled at Boston College

in the Carroll School of Management —

a major he has since parlayed into being

part-owner of the "Stop It!" goaltending

school where he first learned to play in

the nets as a child.

At BC, Schneider backboned the

Eagles to a Beanpot championship

in 2007, and led the school to two


kitchen islands

accent walls



82 River Street



164 Chestnut Street



12 Old Road




20 | 01945

Ben breaks barriers

Most people view going to

college as a rite of passage.

For Ben Farrar and his

family, it's a small miracle.

"I'm doing things I would never think

I'd be doing a few years ago," said Ben,

22, now a student at the University of

New Hampshire. "Going back to school.

Being on my own. Living independently.

I live my life like any other college kid


Ben was rendered quadriplegic during

a school exchange program in France

near the end of his senior year of high

school in 2015. The students arrived on a

Saturday, met with their respective host

families for sightseeing the following day,

and arranged to meet at the beach that


Ben, who was wearing a t-shirt and

jeans, walked into the ocean to cool

off. He got to a certain point and dove

forward, head first. As his head hit the

water, a wave crashed over the back of

his neck and the force drove his head to

the bottom of the ocean, said his mother,


"It was a freak accident," she said.

"That split second that he chose to

dive in and that wave — his head hit

the sand and he immediately became


Ben later told his mother that he was

underwater when he realized he couldn't

move his body. His next thought was that

if he was under water and couldn't move,

he would die.

Not knowing what happened, his

friends initially thought he was goofing

off and sat on his back. When he rolled

over, they knew something was wrong

and the three girls carried him out of the

water. One, a lifeguard, used her leg as a

stint to keep his neck straight.

First responders could have taken

him to two different hospitals. Lucky,

they determined he needed to go to the

hospital that specializes in this type

of trauma, said Yunita. Immediately

after arriving, Ben had an operation to

stabilize a bone that had been crushed


and was protruding into his spinal cord.

"If they had taken him to the local

hospital in France, they would not have

been able to do the operation," she

said. "He would have died from the


Yunita was at brunch with her

husband and four children in Montreal

when she got the call. She imagined he

had a few broken bones or a sprained

ankle, she said. She never expected to

step off the plane and find him lying in a

bed connected to wires and tubes.

In most cases, they would have

induced a coma, said Yunita, but Ben

was able to keep himself calm and keep

his blood pressure down. It wasn't until

he suffered from an infection from

inhaling the sea water that they induced

a coma.

After 6½ weeks in France, he was

airlifted back to Boston, stopping in

London, Iceland, and Newfoundland.

The trip took 20 hours and in that time,

nobody moved or talked to Ben, said

his mom. He developed a sore on his

coccyx, which developed to a stage four


The flesh of the wound essentially

died because of lack of blood flow, said


In September 2015, Ben had surgery

to clean out the wound and cover it with


He was treated at Massachusetts

General Hospital for 10 days before

he was transferred to Spaulding

Rehabilitation Hospital. Five-and-a-half

months and countless physical therapy

sessions later, Ben finally went home.

"It was amazing to have him home,"

said Yunita. "We didn't know day-to-day

if he was going to be OK until they let

him go and leave the hospital."

From there, Ben had health scares

here and there, but he was determined

not to let his new reality hold him back.

Rather than going to college with his

friends in the 2015-16 school year, he

waited on his eligibility results for a stem

cell replacement study at the University

of Miami. When he wasn't chosen for

it, he decided to shift his focus on his

education, he said.

He took online classes at North Shore

Community College during the Fall

2016 semester and made the Dean's List.

From there, he decided he would attend

the University of New Hampshire to

study finance.

"I'm not 100 percent sure what I want

to do, but one thing I think I would be

good at is advocacy or helping people

who have spinal injuries by setting up

foundations and stuff like that," said Ben.

Ben has joined a fraternity and met

many new friends. Over the past two

summers, he spent time at Empower

Spinal Cord Injury Camp, where he

kayaked with friends. He hopes to learn

to sail in the future.

"The first time was nerve-wracking —

my accident happened in water," he said.

"I didn't know if I would be comfortable

getting back into it. Once I did it, I was

like, 'I could do that again.' I had a ton

of fun."

Ben said he has learned that he can

do everything he did before his accident,

he just has to put in the time and effort

to learn how to do it differently.

He spends nine hours a week at

Project Walk in Stratham, N.H., an

activity-based recovery program that

helps increase mobility in clients who

have spinal cord injuries and other forms

of paralysis.

"Once he's done with school, there

might be a cure out there for him," said

Yunita. "And if there is, we want to send

him out there in a wheelchair and have

him come back home walking. That's our

vision. So we need to keep him strong."

The three-hour sessions are not

covered by insurance and cost $110 per

hour, said Yunita. The physical therapy

that is covered by insurance is only

45 minutes long and is not sufficient

to maintain Ben's strength, she said.

The community has stepped up with

fundraisers to help pay for the sessions at

Project Walk.

"It's awesome to know how many

people are still pulling for me out there,"

said Ben.

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Lindsay Northrop was a young wife

and mother of two boys, ages 5 and 7,

when she was diagnosed with breast

cancer in 2014.

"I was taking care of two young

children, and trying to take care of myself

through the cancer. My husband took on

a lot. It was hard, for me, my husband, and

my sons," said Northrop, a Swampscott

native and Marblehead resident.

Two years later, the cancer returned.

Support outside of the home was

difficult to obtain, she said, especially

for a young woman. The average age

of women receiving a breast cancer

diagnosis is 62.

Catherine Foley, a Beverly native

living in Lynn, faced similar difficulties.

70 Atlantic Ave,

Marblehead, MA 01945


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health care for infants, children, adolescents

and young adults from birth to age 22.

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Lisa Gast,


She, too, was diagnosed with breast cancer

in her 30s. "It's a scary thing. I was filled

with fear and anxiety and uncertainty."

Northrop and Foley, who today are

both in complete remission, met at a

support group recommended by their

surgeons. They were considerably younger

than everyone else in attendance. "It

was the first time I ever went to a group

meeting," said Foley. "Before that, it was

like the Underground Railroad. Someone

would say, 'Oh, call this person.' I'd call,

and that person would be helpful, and

Sarah O'Connor,


Hillary Johnson,


Lynch/van Otterloo

YMCA Executive

Director Gerald

MacKillop helped

create the Corner

Stone program, which

is a new initiative

that supports cancer

patients, cancer

survivors and their


give me another number to call. I'd call

that person. That's how things went."

After the meeting, Northrop tapped

Foley on the shoulder as they were

walking out. The two shared their stories

and recognized the urgent need for a

young women's support group. Statistics

show that one in eight women in the

United States will be diagnosed with

breast cancer during their lifetime.

Northrop and Foley have started the

Young Women's Breast Cancer Support

Group, hosted by the Lynch/van Otterloo

Rebecca Ehrenberg,


Monday: 8 a.m. - 9a.m. Walk-in 9 a.m. - 5:45 p.m. Tuesday-Friday: 9 a.m. - 5:45 p.m.

Saturday: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Sunday: On call for urgent care

YMCA in Marblehead. It coincides

perfectly with the local Y's innovative,

first-in-the-nation Corner Stone program,

a collaborative program providing essential

daily-living support to individuals with

cancer and their immediate families.

Gerald MacKillop Jr., executive

director of the Marblehead-based Y, is

a former Lahey Health executive and

has been involved with Corner Stone

since the beginning. He and Martha

Potvin, coordinator of the Y's health and

wellness programs, "were 100-percent

onboard" with helping the young

women's group, said Northrop.

Foley said young women face a

complex set of challenges during

treatment for breast cancer: They are in

the prime of their life, juggling families,

careers and relationships. Northrop said

the group provides peer-to-peer support

and mentorship. It meets at the Y the first

Monday of every month at both noon and

6:30 p.m.; and there is a private Facebook

page where members can offer support

and share resources as needed.

"I thought of all the women behind

me, and wondered 'Are they going to go

through the same things I did?' I had so

many questions when I was diagnosed. I

was processing so much. We don't want

other women to feel like we did," said Foley.

"Most cancer organizations are focused

around fundraisers," she continued. "They

serve a very important service, but at

the time of my diagnosis the last thing I

wanted was to walk or run a 5K. I needed

support and help with my emotions. I had

cancer. That was my new normal. It was

lonely and isolating, no matter how many

people you have around you. That starts to

disappear when you talk with others who

have been through it."

MacKillop said Corner Stone

participants will have no-cost access to

YMCA-sponsored health and wellness

resources, programs and support to help

them in their cancer fight. The initiative

includes access to all seven YMCA of

the North Shore locations.

"Every family is touched by cancer,"

said MacKillop. "Corner Stone will

provide a safety net (…) If a person has

to cancel a doctor's appointment because

there is no one to take care of their

children, we will take care of the kids

here. If a person has been in treatment

all day, the last thing they want to do is

go out at night for a screening, especially

if it means a trip into Boston. We can do

the screening here, and the patient can be

taken care of while other family members

"I thought of all the women

behind me, and wondered

'Are they going to go through

the same things I did?' I had

so many questions when

I was diagnosed. I was

processing so much. We

don't want other women to

feel like we did."

— Catherine Foley

Catherine Foley of Lynn, left, and Lindsay

Northrop of Marblehead host a weekly support

group at the Lynch/van Otterloo YMCA as part of

the Corner Stone program.


can take advantage of our offerings."

MacKillop said Corner Stone provides:

○ A complimentary Y membership

to cancer survivors diagnosed within the

past five years and their families for one

year (with extended options for those

still receiving treatment).

○ Access to all member benefits and

specialized programs to help those with

cancer and recovering from cancer.

○ A complimentary week of summer

camp for all children in the family

enrolled in the program.

○ A schedule of special drop-in

babysitting for parents who are currently

in treatment.

○ A non-clinical environment where

patients and family can feel comfortable

and supported.

MacKillop said Dana Farber,

Lahey Health, Steward Health, Care

Dimensions hospice and Spaulding

Rehab are onboard. Mass General Cancer

Center and the Reid Sacco Adolescent

and Young Adult Program for Cancer and

Hereditary Blood Diseases have expressed

interest in participating.

“A cancer diagnosis is devastating,

and the goal of Corner Stone is to build

a community support structure and

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26 | 01945 WINTER 2018-19 | 27

provide essential daily support for cancer

patients, survivors and their families,”

said Chris Lovasco, CEO of the YMCA

of the North Shore. “For more than

100 years, the Y has been a community

resource that has experience offering a

wide variety of crucial health, wellness

and education programming. We’re

excited to launch this new program that

will benefit so many adults, children and

families in our local communities.”

Alan Kraning, a Marblehead resident,

is excited by the possibilities Corner

Stone offers. The retired software

engineer had been an enthusiastic

participant in Livestrong, the Y's 12-

week small group program designed for

adult cancer survivors. Kraning, a former

smoker, had a cancerous growth in the

back of his mouth removed in 2003.

Nine years later, cancer was found under

his tongue, necessitating surgery that

included the removal of several teeth.

"That's when I got serious, and started

coming to the Y, first at the old place

in downtown Marblehead, and working

with a personal trainer. Livestrong hit me

at the right time in my life. It integrates

head, heart and body."

Kraning said there's a stigma attached

to cancer. "Some people think they can

catch it, so they stay away from you. The

isolation is tough, on the patient and on

the family. When I was first diagnosed,

I thought I had been given a death

sentence. I was scared out of my mind.

Livestrong shows you you're not alone.

You're working out with your peers and

you support each other."

Kraning still exercises almost daily.

The fact that Corner Stone is a year-long

program is fantastic, he said. "Corner

Stone takes a person's recovery well into

the future. A person can take their time to

adjust to exercise and schedules." Corner

Stone will give him the opportunity to

"give back and go forward, to share my

story with other people who are going

through what I went through."

For more information on the Lynch/van

Otterloo YMCA's Corner Stone program,

go to www.northshoreymca.org or call

781-631-9622. For more information on

the Young Women's Breast Cancer Support

Group (the next meeting is Dec. 3), contact


"Every family

is touched

by cancer.

Corner Stone

will provide a

safety net."

—Gerald MacKillop

Lynch/van Otterloo YMCA Executive Director



Rick Cuzner thought he was going

to spend his whole life as a mechanical

engineer. Until wildlife photography

came into his life.

"It's kind of a hobby that grew and

ended up spiraling," he said.

The Marblehead native has been

an engineer at Applied Materials in

Gloucester for the last 14 years. His

photographic passion took off five years

ago, and it has only gorown since then.

Growing up, Cuzner had an interest

in wildlife and animals. He was always

the one in his friend group with a camera

in his hand during their many nature

trips, and he was always the kid with the

weirdest pets.

Five years ago, when snowy owls

became prevalent on the North Shore,

Cuzner was hellbent on seeing one. And

when he finally did, there was a camera

in his hand and he snagged the perfect

shot. His passion, and skills, only grew

from there.

The self-taught wildlife photographer




wakes up every morning at 5 a.m. and

goes out on the water, on his boat

EndorFin, before he heads to work, eager

to get in a few good shots. Every time

he goes out, he takes at least 500 photos.

He said there must be at least 100,000

photos in his collection.

"Nothing motivates me more than

getting up and running out in the

morning and marching up a beach

in the pitch black so I can be there

for sunrise, taking a photo," he said.

"I think it makes my day job better

because I start off my day doing

something awesome."

For Cuzner, the photography has

been a stress release. Now, it is a family

affair, with his wife Julie and daughters

Katelyn, 13, and Susanna, 9, always

supporting him.

"My oldest is special needs, she has a

genetic disorder, and we like to get her

outside to run around and exercise and

this motivates her," he said. "I'll give

her a camera and a pair of binoculars

and we'll head to the bird sanctuary.

My youngest daughter is really just into

taking pictures, so I give her this little

point and shoot then she'll run around

and start taking shots of rocks and

flowers in our backyard."

Cuzner's hobby turned into a town

phenomenon after he started posting his

work on social media. He said given the

shy, introverted guy that he is, Facebook

and Instagram really helped prompt him

to share his work with the world.

While he may be rich with social

media followers, Cuzner said he isn’t in it

for the money. He will participate in art

shows once in awhile, but his photos are

not for bringing in profit.

He loves integrating his hobbies,

especially his engineering background

and photographic passion, and is always

making something new to help figure out

ways to get the next best photo. Most

recently, he built a motorized rail system

to put his camera on so he can get a

moving pan of the star trails.

His growing passion is not done yet.

Next on his list? He hopes to put

together a book with a collection of his

photos. Cuzner built a career for himself

and his family, but he made sure to never

give up on his passions. Now, he enjoys

the best of both worlds.

“It’s interesting to see the wildlife

around us that nobody sees,” said

Cuzner. “People walk by and don’t take

the time to really see what’s going on in

our waters.”

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30 | 01945 WINTER 2018-19 | 31

A day in the life

of Marblehead lobstermen


Captain Dave Smith, left, and Ben Osborne unload their lobster catch

after spending the morning at sea.

There are no offices out

there, it’s just you in

nature in the open air

- Ben Osborne, Marblehead lobsterman

Above and below, Patriot Seafoods worker John DelloRusso, of

Marblehead, pulls crates of lobster out of the water at the town landing

Marblehead residents Ben Osborne, left, and Capt. Dave Smith unload their catch of lobsters at the State Street Landing.

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