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Fundraiser gives boost to local heart recipient

A fundraiser dinner for local resident Samantha Pearson last Thursday at the Fort High cafeteria was a big success, drawing an estimated 500 people and raising funds to help out with expenses.

“This town is amazing,” said Pearson’s mother, Ellen Gagné, who was overwhelmed by the generosity of people and is proud to be a community member.

“I saw people I hadn’t seen in years, people from way back,” she added.

“It was overwhelming.”

Pearson, who remains at the Ottawa Heart Institute, received a heart transplant in October and had a pacemaker implanted earlier this month.

The 25-year-old reportedly is doing well, however, and her family is hopeful she will be able to come home for Christmas.

Gagné said she contacted her daughter about the successful event, and she was nearly speechless.

“All she could say was, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you.’”

She added the funds raised will help her daughter cover expenses, such as accommodations, while in Ottawa.

“[Sam’s] already planning to give back,” Gagné stressed. “She’s trying to plan a fish derby in March, to give back to the ‘Community Chest’ and Heart and Stroke.

“She’s just overwhelmed by the support. She’s already planning how she’s going to give back to all these people.”

Last Thursday’s fundraiser also featured a penny table, cookie walk (which completely sold out), and raffles for items.

The winners of the raffles were:

•Winnipeg Jets tickets—Cathy Bruyere;

•Green Bay Packers leather jacket—Diane Krawchuk;

•limited edition print of a grizzly bear—Marion Hyatt;

•one-year membership to Energy Fitness—Melanie Hyatt;

•Connie Cuthbertson print—Darlene Desjardins; and

•winter print—Walter Rogoza.

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