Feature Story: ATT Founders Maria Vetrano and Helen Privett


Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition (MBCC) will hold its annual Against the Tide fundraisers, multi-sport events benefitting the only non-profit in the state dedicated to the prevention of breast cancer from environmental causes. The first Against the Tide takes place June 18th at DCR’s Hopkinton State Park in Hopkinton, MA for the 30th year and the second will be held on August 13th at DCR’s Nickerson State Park in Brewster, MA for the 23rd year. Each event will feature 1-mile recreational or competitive swims, ½-mile recreational swim, 5K or 10K runs, 3-mile walk, and a 1-mile USMS sanctioned swim. 

Against the Tide is an inspirational family-friendly event that brings people from all demographics together with one goal in mind: breast cancer prevention.

MBCC is excited to have award-winning journalist Nicole Estaphan, a reporter and producer for WCVB Channel 5’s Chronicle, to emcee the Hopkinton event on June 18th. Award-winning journalist Nathalie Pozo, a co-anchor of WCVB NewsCenter 5, will emcee the Brewster event on August 13th.

The Against the Tide 30th Year Anniversary in Hopkinton State Park will feature special guests Maria Vetrano and Helen Privett, co-founders of Against the Tide.  In the 1970’s, the then thirteen-year-old Vetrano watched not only her mother, but her entire family, struggle with breast cancer at a time when doctors offered little hope of recovery. When as an adult, Vetrano realized that incidence of breast cancer had increased over time—and that treatments, while better, were still very limited in efficiency—she decided to create an event that would offer a source of empowerment to people who’ve been affected by breast cancer in some way. In 1993, Maria, along with her now-wife Helen Privett, launched Against the Tide, the fundraising swim to fight breast cancer for the nascent MBCC, which a group of survivor-advocates had started only two years before. Now, both the Against the Tide event and MBCC are going strong and making a difference locally and nationally.

“We are very grateful to Maria and Helen as the founders of Against the Tide thirty years ago,” said Cheryl Osimo, Executive Director, MBCC. “Maria’s touching story of the passing of her mother when Maria was only thirteen-years-old tells us what all too many children and families have to endure when a loved one is battling cancer. We honor them and appreciate their many years of support and look forward to meeting them on the beach at Hopkinton State Park on June 18th to thank them in person.”

Those who cannot attend are encouraged to make a pledge to a registered participant or team. Participants may register as an individual or as part of a team, such as the one started by Vetrano and Privett (https://raceroster.com/events/2022/55662/2022-against-the-tide-hopkinton/pledge/team?id=3). Registration is $40 for an individual participant, and $100 for a family registration (up to 5 members). We encourage all participants to fundraise beyond the registration minimum, as all proceeds support MBCC. All participants will receive an event t-shirt. Prizes will be awarded for the top swim and run finishers at the in-person events.

MBCC is also hosting two virtual events, each with an 8-day participation window: Against the Tide June Virtual Event, June 11th – 18th, and Against the Tide August Virtual Event, August 6th – 13th. The virtual event components include 1-mile recreational or competitive swims, ½-mile recreational swim, 5K or 10K runs, and a 3-mile walk.

To learn more about all of the registration options or to make a pledge, please visit the MBCC website at www.mbcc.org/swim or call 508-246-3047. To learn more about MBCC’s television media sponsor WCVB Channel 5, please visit www.wcvb.com.