Her story is one of adversity and inspiration. As a young girl, Lenore Montanaro ’12 courageously battled cancer on three occasions, losing her right leg to an amputation when she was just 11 years old. Even as she underwent years of treatments and hospital stays, Montanaro was compelled to help other sick children who “weren’t as lucky” as she was.
At the age of five, she started raising money and collecting toys for Hasbro Children’s Hospital near her hometown in North Kingstown, R.I. Her passion for service continued in high school and at Holy Cross, where she has been active in several service organizations. But it was the passing of her younger brother, John, who died last spring from Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, that motivated her to expand and promote the fund created in his honor—one of several projects for which she was recently recognized by Citizens Bank.
Chosen from a pool of nearly 1,800 applicants, Montanaro was named the $5,000 second place winner of the bank’s TruFit Good Citizen Scholarship—which was created as a way to recognize students whose volunteer efforts have made a difference in their communities. “In the spirit of the College’s Jesuit mission, Lenore has proven to be a true ‘woman for others,’ through her service work both on and off campus,” says Jacqueline Peterson, vice president for student affairs and dean of students. “We are proud of her accomplishments and know she will continue to inspire and serve her community.”
Montanaro credits her affinity for helping others to her brother, who despite being 14 months younger, always set a positive example for her. She recalls John constantly encouraging her to “do the right thing” a simple adage that inspired Montanaro’s commitment to volunteer work and exemplifies her compassion for the less fortunate. “His memory continues to inspire me in all that I do,” she shares. “He and I were best friends.”
An active member of the Holy Cross community, Montanaro spent last summer working as a Student Programs for Urban Development (SPUD) disability law intern with Community Legal Aid, a local organization that assists low-income and elderly residents who are unable to afford legal services. In addition, Montanaro spent more than 100 hours over the past three years working with Worcester Public School students on the brink of leaving school. Montanaro enjoys keeping in contact with her students who now email for advice on college—something they say they never considered until she entered their lives.
In addition to her service work through Holy Cross, Montanaro spends her time promoting the John Montanaro Fund. Founded in his honor by the Ocean State Veterinary Hospital in East Greenwich, R.I., after his death, the fund raises money for oncology treatments for pets suffering with cancer—a cause that he was passionate about.
An English major, creative writing concentrator, and member of the Prelaw Program, Montanaro plans to attend law school to study trial and civil rights litigation with the goal of fighting against legal injustice. Montanaro remembers her brother telling her she would be a great lawyer someday and she attributes much of her success to his constant encouragement and support. “My main goal is to continue efforts regarding memorializing my brother John,” she says. “I know that I have a lot to give, as I continue to follow the advice of my loving brother.”
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