← Go Back

Family is Who You Make It

When tragedy hits your family, you find out who your real family is. The people that rally around you through the worst of times – and then stay by you – may surprise you. Sometimes, that includes your work family.

The Harvey family was dealt a parent’s worst nightmare when their boy, Ryan, was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPG), highly aggressive and difficult to treat brain tumors found at the base of the brain, when he was 7 years old. Just two and a half years later, Ryan passed away at the tender age of 10. Such a tragedy can tear even the strongest of families apart. Instead, Ryan’s parents, Eileen and Chris, and Ryan’s older brother, Tommy, decided to start the Ryan Harvey Foundation. Over the years, they have raised over $50,000 for kids facing DIPG and other pediatric tumors and their families.

Family has stayed by their side. Ryan’s aunt, Kara, is the foundation’s treasurer. Ryan’s uncle, Mike, plans the events for the foundation. Ryan’s cousin, Julie, is the webmaster. Many other family members have rallied around the Harvey family and stayed to help keep the foundation up and running so that they may help other families going through a similar, terrible time in their lives.

Ryan’s father, Chris, happens to work at Waltham Pest Services. When you work at a company that truly treats their employees like family, you better expect the family treatment. During Waltham sales meetings, there’s always a charitable event. Sometimes they stuff backpacks for underprivileged children. Once they did a trivia game and one team chose the Harvey Foundation to play for (they ended up winning and donated to the foundation). This year, they made signs.

It doesn’t sound like much, but the signs were for the Pan Mass Challenge, where people come together from all corners of the world with one mission: raising funds for cancer research and treatment at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Chris Harvey rides in the race every year to help raise money. The signs created by his coworkers were filled with words of encouragement and love from his work family. They were also placed along the road where Chris would be riding to encourage him to keep going and to show just how proud of him his work family is. They also donated money to support him in his ride.

Chris has been with Waltham Pest Services for 6 years and is currently a commercial sales rep. He’s not only a valued employee but is, obviously, part of the family. His coworkers clearly have his back – and he has theirs. If ever there was the tiniest of silver lining around such a dark cloud, we’re proud it’s that.