Please note that some translations using Google Translate may not be accurately represented and downloaded documents cannot be translated. Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund assume no liability for inaccuracies that may result from using this third-party tool, which is for website translation.
Please note that some translations using Google Translate may not be accurately represented and downloaded documents cannot be translated. Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund assume no liability for inaccuracies that may result from using this third-party tool, which is for website translation.

DeFeo gift aims to push ovarian cancer treatment to next level

Dara Frigoletto DeFeo.

Spring 2024
By Kathy Clute
Photography by Alain Martinez

The late Dara Frigoletto DeFeo was a giver, her husband, Peter DeFeo, recalls fondly. Whether it was reading to small children in Dana-Farber’s Jimmy Fund Clinic or helping a senior citizen pluck an item off a high shelf at the grocery store, Dara “had a unique way to communicate that she cared.”

So, when ovarian cancer claimed her life in June 2023 at age 57, Peter was determined to carry on her legacy of giving. He established the Dara L. Frigoletto DeFeo Fund for Ovarian Cancer Research with a $500,000 gift to Dana-Farber last August, initiating a philanthropic plan he and Dara had mapped out during the last two years of her life.

“One person can make a difference,” said Peter, a Natick resident who co-founded VetCor, which acquires and operates veterinary practices in the U.S. and Canada. “And if you empower a lot of people, a lot of people can make a difference. We really thought we could do that, so when Dara passed, I committed myself to getting things off the ground very quickly.”

“It’s reassuring to know that there is real hope.”

Peter DeFeo

“It’s sad that cancer is the second leading killer in our country every year,” he said. “The reassuring thing is knowing that there’s real hope and real treatment. But you need dollars to keep that momentum going, to push research to that next level.”

Physician-scientist Elizabeth Lee, MD, who was Dara’s oncologist, agreed. “Dara was truly a vibrant, selfless person,” she said. “Her namesake research fund will be instrumental in helping us detect ovarian cancer, understand the biology of its subtypes, and treat it. We are so grateful.”

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