By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Marlborough – This spring, Bernadette LaFollette should have been excited about graduating soon from Marlborough High School and looking forward to the next stage of life.
But sadly, the young woman who many called “friend” will not get that chance. Bernadette passed away in 2013 after a lifetime of illness due to a heart defect she had since birth.
In spite of that illness, she still managed to accomplish so much, her best friend Julia Dougherty said, including getting straight As, performing with the school’s marching band, wind ensemble and drama program and serving in different capacities at her church.
To honor her friend’s memory, three years ago Julia established “the Bernadette Project,” a fundraiser which collects toy donations for Boston Children’s Hospital where Bernadette was treated during her life. In the first two years, hundreds of donations were collected. This year, Julia hopes to collect 2,016 items to honor her friend in the year she would have graduated.
All items collected will be once again donated to the Child Life Services department at the hospital.
The items help specialists provide distractions to the kids when they have to have procedures as well as explain what the procedure entails, Julia said. They also help give kids a chance to have some fun and a break from the boredom and stress of lengthy hospital visits.
Suggested items include such things as new toys, arts and crafts, journals, Legos, baby toys, video games, batteries and gift cards. Also accepted are new and used books, movies and video games.
This year’s drive will continue until Friday, April 8. Drop-offs have been set up in Marlborough at Rumors Hair Salon, 500 Boston Post Road East; Roc’s Unisex Salon, 221 Main St.; Santa Cruz, 1007 Boston Post Road East; Immaculate Conception Church, 409 Hemenway St.; St. Mathias Catholic Church, 11 Prospect St.; Wayside Racquet and Swim Club, 80 Broadmeadow St.; and all Marlborough public schools.
Monetary donations are also being accepted at www.gofundme.com/bernadetteproject.
For more information, contact Julia at email@example.com and visit the Bernadette Project website www.thebernadetteproject.weebly.com and Facebook page www.facebook.com/thebernadetteproject.