Fundraiser this month will help local family known for helping others

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WOONSOCKET – A city family well-known for hosting a Christmas toy drive every year to benefit local children in need could use some help of their own, and friends are calling on the northern Rhode Island community to step in.

Hearts with Hope Inc. will be hosting a fundraising dinner in support of Rebecca Arel on Thursday, Jan. 16 at St. Joseph Veterans Association at 99 Louise St. in Woonsocket.

Arel is the niece of the late Ron Auger, a Woonsocket police dispatcher who died in 2009. Her family has hosted a toy drive at their home every year since in Auger’s memory, delivering truckloads of gifts to kids who otherwise might not have a Christmas.

Arel recently had surgery to alleviate the symptoms of Chiari Malformation type I, a condition in which brain tissue extends into the spinal canal. Chiari malformation type I occurs when the section of the skull containing a part of the brain is too small or is deformed, thus putting pressure on and crowding the brain. The lower part of the cerebellum is displaced into the upper spinal canal causing severe headaches.

“Rebecca has also experienced neck pain, unsteady gait (problems with balance,) poor hand coordination (fine motor skills,) and numbness and tingling of the hands and feet,” noted a release on the event.

“We wanted to do the fundraiser sooner but the family was tied up with this year’s toy drive,” said Hearts with Hope board member Mike Heroux. “They are a giving family who put the needs of others before themselves.”
Hearts with Hopes, is an organization that works to raise money for the benefit of Woonsocket High School alumni and/or their immediate families who have been diagnosed with a serious medical condition or suffered a catastrophic life event, and have demonstrated a need for financial assistance.
Heroux said he’s hopeful that residents from across the state will pitch in to help the city family.
“Many of our Novan alumni live in communities outside Woonsocket,” he said.

The pasta and meatball dinner will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on January 16. The cost per person is $20 for adults, $7 children 5-12 years old and children 4 and under are free.

Hearts with Hope Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization, and any donation given is tax deductible.

To purchase tickets or further information contact Heroux at (401) 442-4744 or via email at mheroux2001@yahoo.com. Donations may also be mailed to Hearts with Hope, Inc. PO Box 365, Woonsocket, RI 02895.

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