Globe South People

Giving back

Lorna J. Brunelle with her sister, nephew, and mother. Lorna J. Brunelle with her sister, nephew, and mother. (Andrew Gallagher)
By Paul E. Kandarian
January 16, 2011

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“Moving Forward, Giving Back” is the theme of the South Shore Women’s Business Network’s 20th anniversary, which recognizes strides made by women in business over the past two decades and their civic involvement, said Janet LaBerge, the network president.

“So many of our members are active in their own communities, volunteering on boards, fund-raising for local charities and helping those less fortunate,” said LaBerge, owner of Pembroke-based Dirty Deeds (Done Dirt Cheap). “For our 20th, we wanted to pool our efforts as a network and give back to our South Shore neighbors who have supported our businesses for the past 20 years.

The anniversary kicks off a year-long celebration at the organization’s annual “State of the Network” meeting Jan. 27 at 7:30 a.m. at the Rockland Holiday Inn, she said. Network members will participate in a number of community service projects this year, partnering with local nonprofits that include South Shore Hospital in Weymouth, Braintree-based South Shore Elder Services, DOVE (Domestic Violence Ended) in Quincy, and the Friends of Mel Foundation in Hingham, which raises money to support cancer charities.

LaBerge said representatives of partner groups will be at the meeting to launch the “Moving Forward, Giving Back” campaign, which ends in October with presentation of the Women’s Business Achievement Award to a local businesswoman exemplifying commitment to helping professional women.

The Jan. 27 meeting will include the network’s survey of members on how businesses are doing. Tickets are $40, $25 for members. or 781-749-8883.

CANCER SURVIVOR WRITES BOOK: Lorna J. Brunelle of Middleborough, owner of the Burt Wood School of Performing Arts and Alley Theatre in that town, has recently published “Dirty Bombshell — From Thyroid Cancer Back to Fabulous,” which describes her 24-month battle against the disease.

She wrote the book to help others with thyroid cancer, which she said has one of the fastest rising rates of any disease in the country. In 2010, there were nearly 45,000 new cases of thyroid disease in the United States, with nearly 1,700 deaths, according to the National Cancer Institute. But with treatment, Brunelle said, thyroid cancer, which occurs more often in women, has a 97 percent, five-year survival rate, according to the institute.

“I felt compelled to write the book that wasn’t on the shelf when I got sick,” she said, adding she wanted to “provide a timeline of hope and healing.’’

A graduate of the Boston Conservatory, Brunelle is a singer, and was told by one doctor that following surgery to remove her thyroid, she might never sing again. Four months after her successful surgery, she sang, without amplification, “Amazing Grace” at her grandfather’s funeral at Bourne National Cemetery.

The book is at the Burt Wood School and

10TH PLYMOUTH RELAY: The Relay for Life of Greater Plymouth is celebrating its 10-year anniversary of participating in the Relay for Life’s annual fund-raising efforts to support the American Cancer Society, and is kicking off this year’s event Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. with an information session at one of its sponsors, PartyLite, 59 Armstrong Road in the Plymouth Industrial Park. Plans for this year’s relay will be announced. Last year, the team raised nearly $200,000 with more than 700 walkers and 125 cancer survivors participating.

The relay is June 24-25 at Plymouth South High and covers Plymouth, Carver, Kingston, Plympton, and Pembroke. Contact Alice Chrusciel-Allen at, 508-746-7818 or visit

BUSINESS BRIEFS: James Shapiro and Allan Waldorf of Audio Video Intelligence in Easton will receive the Outstanding Business Citizen Award from the Easton Chamber of Commerce at its seventh annual Business Appreciation Night Jan. 27 at the Easton Country Club. The award is given in recognition of outstanding support of the Easton community and its citizens.

Also that night, James Hamilton, an Oliver Ames High student, will get the Community Service Scholarship for volunteer work at the Easton Food Pantry.

Comic Mary Ellen Rinaldi of Plymouth will present “Life Lessons Through Laughter.” Tickets for chamber members are free; nonmember cost is $25 per person, for appetizers, buffet dinner, and a cash bar. Reservations must be made by Thursday by calling 508-238-2225 or e-mailing

Paul Escobar of Milton, senior vice president at Woburn-based Bay Colony Partners Inc.’s wealth management division, was named to the 401k Wire’s list of Top 300 Most Influential Advisors in Defined Contribution.

Reach Paul E. Kandarian at

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