BOSTON -- The photo of slain MIT police officer Sean Collier, who was murdered in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings in April, went up on the big video scoreboard in center field at Fenway Park on Wednesday night, and his family poked their heads up from behind home plate to watch.
It was fitting, said Collier's brother-in-law, Brendan Lynch, that Collier would be honored Wednesday, as the Jimmy Fund telethon pushed its donation total past $2.5 million for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
About 11 years ago, a 15-year-old Collier was working in a small office with his older sister, transcribing medical records and doctors' notes to make a few extra bucks during the summer.
"It was a clerk job," said Lynch, who has been married to Collier's older sister, Nicole, for eight years. "They had the radio on all summer. At the end, about now, they heard all these compelling stories of all these children and the lives that have been saved and it stuck with him, meant so much to him, that he reached out."
That's when Collier decided he'd set up an automatic withdrawal from his bank account every month and donate it to the Jimmy Fund.
So when Collier's family received overwhelming support during the days after his death in April, the decision was easy: No flowers or gifts; donate to the Jimmy Fund.
"It seems like everyone has a relative affected by cancer," said Lynch. "Sean has the aunts and uncles, things like that, but it wasn't something that necessarily hit his household personally. It wasn't himself, his brothers, sisters, mother or father.
"That's just symbolic of how kind he was and how he wanted to help the community as a whole. That compelled him in the same way becoming a police officer did."
After spending the day on NESN and WEEI sharing Collier's stories, the family took part in a pregame ceremony before the Red Sox hosted the Orioles. Nine members of the family threw out ceremonial first pitches.
"It was absolutely an honor," Lynch said.