The board met at the end of July and we have decided to support three individual families with your contributions. With their permission, we wanted you to hear their stories. If you made a donation to the Billy Keane Foundation, you are a part of making a difference for these families:
The family of Bernadette LeVasseur Russella
Bernadette LeVasseur was an O’Hara classmate to several of our board members, including Billy Keane himself. She graduated from O’Hara in 1984. Bernadette passed away this past Spring at age 43, after a 3 year battle with breast cancer. She was married to Joe Russella and has two beautiful girls, Elizabeth and Christine, who attend St. Francis School.
The Russellas had always talked about taking a trip to see Niagara Falls, so the BKF made this happen for them! Over Labor Day weekend, Joe took Elizabeth and Christine to Niagara Falls for a vacation to remember their Mom’s adventurous spirit.
The BKF covered the expenses for this trip. In addition, donations were made to the girls’ education funds.
But, this is not the end of the “gift giving” in this story . . . when Joe talked to the girls about The BKF and told them that we wanted to do something special for them, they responded with a special request. The girls asked for a large portion of their gift to be given to another family that it might truly help. In the name of the Russella girls, an extra donation was made to the Paoletti family (read below), to help cover the cost of outstanding bills. God bless you girls!
The family of Tom Paoletti
Tom Paoletti was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer 4 years ago. Tom fought courageously but lost his battle this past August. He is the husband of Kathy Morris Paoletti and father of Domenic and Dante, who both attend St. Dorothy’s School. A gift basket and letter was recently delivered to the Paolettis informing them that their tuition had been paid for the upcoming school year, as well as a few gift cards for uniforms and school supplies to get them ready for the upcoming school year. Additional funds were given to them to help offset outstanding bills (much thanks to the Russella Family – read story above!) It is extremely gratifying to know that we have been able to take one less worry off this family’s plate, as they begin their healing journey.
The Milligan Family
Michael and Tara (D’Orazio) are graduates of Bonner and O’Hara respectively, and were married in 1997. They have three beautiful children. On November 4, 2009, just days after the c-section delivery of their third child, Tara developed an infection and tragically passed away at age 38. Michael is left with the overwhelming task of sole provider, caretaker and single parent to his three young children.
The Billy Keane Foundation wants to help in bringing joy to this family’s life once again. The Milligan family will be visiting The Great Wolf Lodge in the Poconos, a family indoor water park resort, to enjoy a weekend of family time and fun together. In addition, Mike will be receiving a Sunday Phillies Game season package for next season, to make sure he takes much needed time for himself.
The Billy Keane Foundation has also made a donation to the children’s education fund, to ease the financial burden of their future education.
The Billy Keane Foundation is honored to be a part of supporting these strong and courageous families. Many thanks to the Paoletti, Russella and Milligan families for sharing your stories with us, and for allowing us the opportunity to support you. Please know that in the coming year, you will be in the hearts and prayers of our board, as well as all of our donors and supporters.
God Bless You All!