Where it began … The Logans

As the Terri Brodeur Foundation celebrates its milestones, we are taking a look back and talking with those who helped get the foundation started and who have continued to support its mission over the years of raising money and designating every dollar donated toward breast cancer research. This year marks the 15th anniversary of TBF, which was established in February 2006. We held our first walking marathon fundraiser in October 2006 and this year we are celebrating our 16th walk.

Original volunteers vow to keep at it until there’s a cure

Jean and Steve Logan do not like the limelight.

But quietly and with great aplomb, they have supported the Terri Brodeur Foundation from the start, donating money, walking in the marathon, registering walkers, keeping track of donations, hauling tables and chairs the day of the annual walk and pretty much doing whatever needs to be done.

“They are two of the most valued founding and sustaining members in the organization,” said foundation co-founder Sandy Maniscalco. “They are two amazing human beings.”

The Logans are among the original group who the late Norma Logan hand-picked 16 years ago to help build a new nonprofit that would give 100 percent of fundraising dollars to breast cancer research. Norma, who died from breast cancer shortly after establishing the foundation, is Steve Logan’s sister-in-law.

Jean Logan said most of those involved from the beginning were co-workers at Pfizer.

Norma knew everyone’s strengths and capitalized on them, she said, giving out assignments and refusing to take no for an answer. Everyone was charged with figuring out how to raise money. Norma wanted a walk across Connecticut, but agreed that the group had to start smaller. The first Walk Across Southeastern Connecticut was held the first Saturday in October in 2006.

Founding member, Steve Logan with 16 year marathoner and friend, Martha Conn at 2021 opening ceremonies
Founding member, Steve Logan with 16 year marathoner and friend, Martha Conn at 2021 opening ceremonies

“Norma had that way about her,” Steve Logan said during an interview sitting out on the back porch of their home in Quaker Hill. “She was very driven. She would understand people and speak to them at their level. She was just a good person.”

After Norma was diagnosed with breast cancer, she rallied her friends to do two long marathons in Boston and New York to raise money for breast cancer. Jean Logan and her son Max, who had just turned 16, participated in one of the walks. But when Norma discovered how much of the money they raised was going to overhead costs, she decided to create a new foundation just for breast cancer research. All donations would go to research. The resources needed to put on the annual walk and run the foundation would come from volunteers and sponsorships.

Jean Logan, who worked with her sister-in-law and Sandy Maniscalco at Pfizer Inc., did not hesitate to help. The Logans were sponsors and continue to be sponsors.

Jean Logan, founding member in 2006 welcoming Mike Morin, scientific advisory board and founding member
Jean Logan, founding member in 2006 welcoming Mike Morin, scientific advisory board and founding member across the finishline

Jean has walked in several marathons, walking around in sandals for two weeks afterwards, she said, because of blisters. She was the walker and registration team captain for many years and was the accounts receivable manager for all non-credit card transactions. She served on the TBF board from 2008-15. Her son Max is now a board member.

Steve, who is a builder by trade, said he does “whatever they let me do.” He helps with logistics and manpower to support the walks, including setting up pitstops, lunch stops and opening and closing ceremonies. He also breaks down everything at the end of the day.

Jean retired from Pfizer last spring and still had the original emails from Norma about setting up the foundation. Norma died before the first Terri Brodeur marathon in October 2006.

‘I don’t know how she did it,” Jean Logan said. “She just put the right people in charge.”

The Logans believe it was Norma’s vision and her ability to see people’s strengths that has sustained the foundation. To date, the New London-based organization has raised more than $5 million and has awarded $5.2 million to 52 scientists and clinicians who are searching for a cure for breast cancer and better ways to treat those who already have the disease.

“There are a lot of dedicated people,” Steven Logan said. “Year after year they put their hearts and souls into keeping it going.”

It’s amazing, he added, that nearly all the people Norma pulled in to start the organization are still involved.

“They are just good-hearted people,” he said.

The Logans would like to see the foundation raise even more money and give out even more research grants.

“Norma really wanted to find a cure,” she said.

Figuring out how to do that is the challenge; but with younger people getting involved, new ideas are continuously being discussed.

“But the mission will never change,” he said.

“Yes,” she agreed. “Until there’s a cure we will keep giving.”

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