Fundraising has always been a big part of Cheri Cote’s life, thanks to her mother Rhonda.

“My mom was my driving force when it came to fundraising—she really loved it,” says Cheri. “She fundraised for March of Dimes and the American Cancer Society. Whenever she knew someone who was diagnosed with cancer, she did everything in her power to make them feel like they weren’t alone. Then, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014, she was ready to get to work and start raising funds for breast cancer organizations patients—and she didn’t stop until she passed away.”

Cheri’s mother Rhonda, a Torrington resident and longtime employee of O&G Industries, is lovingly remembered as a kind, diligent, and charitable person. It was her incredible zeal and warrior spirit that inspired the slogan used by Rhonda’s family and friends to fundraise in her honor.

“Live Like Rhonda,” shares Cheri. “Even through her diagnosis, she continued working, fundraising, and raising awareness. The saying ‘Live Like Rhonda’ encourages everyone to live like she did every day—with love, selflessness, empathy, and compassion.

“She was such a positive influence in the lives of so many. If you didn’t know her, you would never have known she was sick—so we would encourage those to live as she did.”

A friend later informed Cheri about Charlotte Hungerford Hospital’s Pink Rose Fund and how it benefitted breast cancer patients in northwest Connecticut by providing educational outreach and screenings to ensure patients have comprehensive, coordinated access to treatments, programs, and services—including patient financial assistance.

Determined to honor her memory, Cheri and Rhonda’s father, two brothers, son, and other family members created and sold shirts emblazoned with “Live Like Rhonda.” Together, they successfully raised $1,300 for the Pink Rose Fund through their fundraising efforts.

“It was definitely a lot more personal for me than previous fundraisers, it was the first one without my mom,” says Cheri. “It was difficult—but also good knowing that the shirt and donation keep her memory alive.

“I would 100% recommend to others to get involved with fundraising,” continues Cheri. “You learn how many people have your back, how many people are grateful—in this case, for my mom.”

“Charlotte Hungerford is so grateful for the support of Rhonda Cote’s family and friends—and moved by their efforts to honor her memory through fundraising for the Pink Rose Fund,” shared Debbie Bender, Senior Philanthropy Officer at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital. “For years Charlotte Hungerford Hospital’s Pink Rose Fund has been a critical resource and worthy beneficiary for northwest Connecticut—and our community’s support of the fund, breast cancer patients, and their families has made a meaningful difference in the lives of so many neighbors, friends, and loved ones.

If you are interested in creating or supporting a fundraiser to benefit Charlotte Hungerford Hospital and the patients we serve, please contact Debbie Bender, Senior Philanthropy Officer, at