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Fundraiser to benefit resident in need of kidney transplant

Date: 11/8/2013

Molly O’Neil

WESTFIELD – Cheryl Lafreniere of Westfield hasn’t let kidney disease stop her from living.

She’s been on dialysis for the last 18 months while waiting for a kidney transplant but she continues to work as a preschool teacher at the Center for Early Education and Care. Her main concern right now, aside from her students, is the mounting medical costs.

Lafreniere estimated that insurance itself would be $350 per month and worried, “I will be on costly drugs the rest of my life.” She added that she’s grateful for any funds raised at the Nov. 9 benefit in her honor from 1 to 6 p.m. at the Sons of Erin, 22 William St.

Lafreniere’s friend of 33 years, Amy Taylor, was hoping to give her a kidney, but it isn’t compatible with Lafreniere. However, Taylor is still planning to donate her kidney for Lafreniere in the Kidney Exchange Program. Through the program, Taylor can give her kidney to someone that matches, and Lafreniere will get higher priority for a transplant.

“I am extremely grateful that Amy, who has so little, is giving so much,” Lafreniere said while referring to Taylor recently losing her house and job.

Lisa Pac, Lafreniere’s daughter and organizer of the benefit, said that any extra money from the benefit would go to the Kidney Exchange Program.

Pac said she is hoping to raise between $4,000 and $5,000 at the benefit. “[If] everybody gives a little, then somebody gets a lot,” Pac explained.

Pac organized the fundraiser because, as she claimed, “she’s my mom and I want her around.”

Pac described her mother as a giving person who doesn’t ask for much. This benefit will be a way for people to reach out to help Lafreniere.

The event will have raffle prizes, a DJ, and games. There will also be a pig roast and a chili and baked bean cook-off.

After Lafreniere expressed her gratitude towards everyone involved in the benefit, she added, “My kidneys and liver are bad from this disease, but I have a healthy heart and a good set of lungs. I hope to donate them to somebody some day.”