Benefit dinner raises funds for Alexis Lavoie

Alexis Gamache, News Editor

The “Stay Strong Alexis” benefit dinner, held on Nov. 17 at the Polish Center here in Ludlow raised over $21,000 in raffles, personal donations and tickets sales.

The money was given to the Lavoie family to help assist 15-year-old sophomore Alexis Lavoie who over the summer suffered a brain hemorrhage.

Close friends of the Lavoie’s, Maureen O’Sullivan and Pat Gregoire, ran the event while other members of the community volunteered to sell tickets, clean up, or assist in any other way.

Over 600 family members and friends attended the event and were served a pasta dinner donated by Mel’s Restaurant in Holyoke.

Over 150 gift baskets were donated for the Chinese raffle held during the event.

Some donations included a $25 gift card to Fancy Feet, free zumba classes (donated by zumba instructor Anna Ferris), and 50 percent off student parking at Ludlow High School next year.

However, the biggest donation had to come from Hasbro who donated all sorts of games and toys and one big gift basket with snacks and board games for a fun “Family Game Night.”

The highlight of the night was the cake, donated by Nancy Parent, owner of Tiers of Joy, which was an under-the-sea theme to represent Alexis’ love for the ocean.

“What I took away from attending the dinner was a warm, positive feeling about the many wonderful people in this community who repeatedly demonstrate that they are eager and willing to support others in need,” says English teacher Chris Rea. “It was a special night.”

Lavoie is still recovering and attending speech, physical, and occupational therapy three days a week at Welden Center at Mercy Hospital in Springfield, Mass.