One young woman at Old Colony Regional Vo-Tech in Rochester is taking a tragedy and turning it into something good.

Alison Abreu, 18, is a senior at Old Colony Regional Vo-Tech. In December 2009, Abreu’s mother was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and undiagnosed breast cancer. She died in March 2010.

When Abreu began learning about breast cancer as part of her high school curriculum she decided to do something, so she began a fundraising campaign.

“We first started out with those loom bracelets, we made hundreds of them, spent so many hours braiding them and all that stuff,” Abreu said. “We made a lot of money with those. This year we decided to amp it up a little and made custom bracelets that say ‘Think Pink.’”

Jeanne Butler, a health careers instructor, said she though the project would help Abreu heal and to give back to fight the disease that caused her pain.

Last year, Abreu and her classmates raised over $3,000.

So far this year, they’ve already raised more than $1,000 and recently presented a check to the Southcoast Center for Cancer Care.

School advisors said Abreu is an inspiration to others.

For Abreu, giving back is the best way she knows how to honor her mother’s memory.

“I didn’t do it for the recognition or anything, I do it for knowing that I did something right and I like that feeling that I helped someone out,” Abreu said.

Abreu is already a certified nursing assistant and wants to work at Children’s Hospital in Boston.


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