Growing up, Rick Boulay had two passions in life: music and science. Today, Boulay is able to combine both, but in ways he could not have predicted.
He was profoundly influenced by his grandmother, Catherine Boulay, who encouraged his musical talents. He liked to sing and she bought him his first guitar and keyboard.
Sadly, she died of colon cancer when he was 12. He thought he might pursue a music career, but dropped the idea and became a doctor.
Today, as chief of gynecologic oncology at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest, cancer is a constant in Boulay’s professional life, just as it was early on his personal life. Along the way, he learned some profound lessons from cancer patients and their families.
In 2007, Boulay and his wife, Julie Bolton, who live in Salisbury Township, established the Catherine Boulay Foundation to support projects that help give emotional support to people dealing with cancer.
One of their main initiatives is JourneyThroughCancer.com, an online support group. At the suggestion of a patient, Dr. Boulay started singing again and made a CD called Hope, a collection of songs that expresses the journey cancer patients take.
But Dr. Boulay’s story took an ironic twist when, a year after establishing the Catherine Boulay Foundation and while making his second CD, Peace, Julie was diagnosed with leukemia. Boulay and Bolton know that physicians and their families are not immune from getting cancer.
With cancer as a profound teacher and music as an outlet, Boulay is imparting some of those lessons, the joy and the sorrow, the hope and the despair that everyone touched by cancer experiences.
The songs on Hope are:
- I Follow
- Lean on Me
- Somewhere Over the Rainbow
- What a Wonderful World
- Precious Lord, Take my Hand
- Not While I’m Around
- Ave Maria
- No Matter What
- Hymne à l’Amour
- Seasons of Love
- Con Te Partiro
The CDs are available for $20 at www.CatherineBoulayFoundation.org, www.JourneyThroughCancer.com and Lehigh Valley Hospital gift shops. On Saturday, Sept.17, the foundation will sponsor Fight Like a Girl!, a 5k run/walk family day at the Lehigh Valley Parkway. A portion of the proceeds wil go tot he Foundation for Women's Cancer and the Cancer Support Community of the Greater Lehigh Valley. Registration begins at 9 a.m., the race starts at 10:30 a.m. To register, go to the foundation's Web site or send an e-mail to CatherineBoulayFoundation5k@gmail.com.