flag image

'The giving keeps on going'

Festival of (Giving) Trees wraps up weekend

Sawyer Smith, 4, of Charlton puts his raffle ticket into a tree of his choice during Festival of Giving Trees Children's Day on Saturday, above. This tree’s theme, Three Cups of Tea, honoring humanitarian Greg Mortenson’s efforts to build schools in Afghanistan. Shawn Kelley. (click for larger version)
December 06, 2009
SOUTHBRIDGE — As it has on the first weekend of December annually for years now, the LaSalle Center glittered with Christmas tree lights, echoed with music and flowed with dance to celebrate the Festival of (Giving) Trees.

"I think we did amazing," said Janet Garon before the final tallies were done Sunday evening. "For a while, we were pulling in $1,500 every half hour."

As in the past, the funds are to be split three ways to help fight cancer, with a third each going to the Harrington Cancer Center, Silent Spring Institute and the Mass. Breast Cancer Coalition. To many participants, that goal had personal resonance, but it especially hit home for five-year volunteer Denise Franconeri. While working on paperwork upstairs, she surprised her fellow volunteer Caroline Fontaine by telling this reporter she'd had her own recent battle with breast cancer.

Diagnosed in February, Franconeri went through a brief round of surgery and radiotherapy. She said the doctors "caught it early," but she'll still be on some anti-cancer drugs for the next few years to make sure it doesn't come back.

"I'm glad they caught it when they did," she said. "… I'm still here and I'll continue doing this."

Fontaine's reaction bespoke the long time they've known each other — "I leave you alone for a few months and look what happens."

See Tuesday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

inclusion image
inclusion image
  • Meet 2019
Thanks for visiting Stonebridge Press and Villager Newspapers