New Bedford Students Raise Money for a Child’s Heart Transplant
Lynne Kuczewski is the President of the St. Vincent DePaul Society for the Catholic Community New Bedford North. When she learned of a local five-year-old boy who needed a heart transplant, she shared the story with Patricia Ferreira, advisor to the All Saints Catholic School Chapter of the National Junior Honor Society, to see if the school would be interested in raising money to help the family.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the NJHS students had been looking for a community service opportunity that would be impactful and safe. This group of All Saints students, in grades 7 and 8, decided to support Jeremiahs and his family through his recent health challenges.
NJHS students, with the assistance of the All Saints middle school classes, Grades 5 through 8, organized a series of letters to be sent to Jeremiahs. Each grade created cards and letters for every step of Jeremiahs’ health journey; i.e. before Jeremiahs’ recent surgery as well as when he arrived back home. The message included in each shared that they are all praying for him and his family. In all, over 80 cards were created and sent to Jeremiahs, cheering him on through these very difficult months.
But the students wanted to take their help one step further. A dress-down day was planned with a minimum $2 donation to help Jeremiahs’ family. A second-grade student, Landyn, rallied his entire family and group of friends to help; thus raising $200 to contribute to the school’s overall fundraising efforts. Landyn had only one request - that he would be able to buy Jeremiahs a toy, as well.
Driving up in a police car that escorted his family, Jeremiahs was led out to the applause of All Saints students on the front lawn of the school. The sunny spring day filled the hearts of everyone as Landyn presented Jeremiahs with a toy truck, and members of the NJHS handed Jeremiahs balloons and a check for $1,022 to give to his mother. Speaking on behalf of the family, Melissa Batchilder, Director of Communications for the New Bedford Police Department, said, “Jeremiahs’ family is overwhelmed with gratitude at the support and prayers for their son. He is such a bright light in their lives and all are blessed who have a chance to meet Jeremiahs.”
Sue Massoud, principal of All Saints Catholic School, adds, “I am so proud of how our students responded with enthusiasm and service when they learned of this family’s need. This is the type of community we strive to be every day and hope to teach our students how to make their communities a better place.”