Sitting around a table not too long ago, a group of local
residents set to brainstorming. They were searching for ways to help an Acton
family, a family just like their own in any number of ways … except for one.
The family didn’t want to ask for money. They didn’t want to see their name plastered all over the place. So the group began to think about what they could give – gifts from the heart to help a young girl who needed a new one.
And so they decided to throw a party.
The “Hearts for Heart Transplant Casino Night” will be held this Saturday, Jan. 11, in the ballroom at the Holiday Inn in Boxborough. A fundraising event, the evening will feature table games, live and silent auctions, a raffle, photo booth, music, appetizers and a cash bar.
“I think it’s going to be a really fun evening and a wonderful thing for people in the community to do something together,” said Kelly Milligan, a member of the Hearts for a Heart Committee, which organized the event. “And to know that if they need it the community is here to help, I think that’s really a testament to the community that we live in.”
Milligan, one of the organizers of the event, says Acton’s response to the “Casino Night” and the cause has been heartwarming.
“It’s incredible,” she said. “It seems like anybody we asked was willing to put something up.”
Support has come from across the community – from the Rotary Club, which has sponsored the event and supplied volunteers to the local merchants who pitched in raffle items, like gift certificates and cards, merchandise, massages and workshops. And for the auctions, local families donated everything from sports tickets to use of their vacation properties for weeklong getaways, from Woodway treadmills to bottles of Bordeaux.
“I’ve been really impressed with the willingness of people to give what they have,” said Milligan. “Whether it’s a home or a signed Patriots jersey, they’re just stepping up to the plate. It’s very touching.”
Among silent auction items are OneDirection tickets, rides to school from the Acton Police and Fire departments, golf outings, Patriots tickets and a week at summer camp. And items up for the live auction include loge box tickets to a Bruins game (with Zamboni ride!), a week at a private home in Barbados, an African safari package, Memorial Day weekend on Nantucket, a week at a condo in Telluride.
The 14-year-old girl for whom the “Hearts for Heart Transplant Casino Night” is being held has received the heart she desperately needed. Three days before Christmas, her family got the call with the good news. The casino night fundraiser seeks to help the family cover medical costs and support their daughter in her recovery.
“The parallel of people being so willing to help with the family who donated the heart of their child, it’ makes you really think about the good that is still in people,” said Milligan. “It’s really heartwarming.”