PITTSFIELD -- More than 80 people, including politicians, businessmen, medical professionals and city residents were in attendance on Sunday to celebrate the announcement of the creation of a research chair at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston in honor of longtime civic champion Paul Dowd and the Berkshire County Jimmy Fund Council.
The one regrettable omission was the presence of Dowd himself, who is battling ALS.
"Paul wanted to be here, he was hoping to be here," said Jim Mazzur, Executive Vice President of the Berkshire County Jimmy Fund. "He has as many good days as bad days, but he still answers that damn phone."
Mazzur said that Dowd "still feels the pulse of the Berkshires, and we all love him and wish to God he was here."
The Paul M. Dowd Chair of Molecular Oncologic Pathology was established by Nuclea Biotechnologies, a high-tech facility based in the city. It is the first chair of that discipline at Dana Farber, according to Patrick Muraca, Nuclea President and CEO. Muraca lauded Dowd for his three decades of support of cancer research.
"He has been an inspiration to a generation," he said.
Originally a native of Michigan, Dowd came to Pittsfield in 1966 as a pitcher for the Pittsfield Red Sox. He remained in the city after his baseball career was over, leaving his mark as a city councilor, youth coach and civic servant.
"You cannot overestimate Paul Dowd's contribution to the fight against cancer," said Muraca. "For three decades, Paul has worked to raise awareness of cancer and raise money for its cure."
Muraca introduced Dr. Masssimo F. Loda as the Cancer Institute's first chairman.
Loda explained that the technologies involved in searching for treatments and cures for cancer, especially at the molecular level, are expensive, "and fundraising is an important part of our efforts."
Suzanne Fountain, Assistant Director of the Jimmy Fund, told those in attendance that Dowd was "an amazing guy; He still tells me when I screw up, but he does it with a smile on his face."
Master of Ceremonies Peter Larkin recalled how Dowd was the driving force for the establishment of the Berkshire County Jimmy Fund Council 30 years ago. Mayor Dan Bianchi told the assembly that the city appreciated the efforts of Nuclea in establishing the chair in Dowd's name.
"He is a terrific human being and a gentleman," said Bianchi.
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