Brockton Woman Raises Money In Honor of Henry Thevenin
July 06, 2011
by Matt Stout
Kimberly Mello didn't know Henry Thevenin, nor was she aware of his battle with leukemia when she signed up to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
But as she stood outside Walmart in Avon last week, she was amazed by the number of people who said they knew the 20-year-old Stonehill College football player. And with nearly each mention, so too came a donation in an effort to help those suffering from the same disease.
"He was so popular," Mello, 38, said of Thevenin, who died June 14. "Just to see these young kids donate their money ... With him passing away, I think it opened up all these people in our area and (made them) aware of this charity. It definitely was timing."
Mello hopes people continue to give at a fundraiser Thursday in Brockton.
Patrons who visit the Texas Roadhouse restaurant between 4 and 10 p.m. with a copy of a fundraiser flier or a printout from Mello's website will have 10 percent of their bill donated to the society.
Mello, of Brockton, has also organized a raffle that includes gift cards, Brockton Rox tickets and an iPad, with all proceeds going toward the charity. If a customer doesn't have a flier, he or she can donate at a table that will be near the hostess stand, said store marketer Casey McNamara.
Mello said she has raised nearly $2,000 of her $3,900 goal, mostly through the event at the Avon Walmart. Among those who've donated is Brockton Mayor Linda Balzotti, who chipped in $25, according to Mello's website.
Mello hopes to hit her mark by October in preparation for an LLS-sponsored hike at Zion National Park in Utah.
She also offered in a letter to Thevenin's family to make the climb in his honor. Jenny Vilme, Thevenin's sister, said Tuesday they've yet to receive it, but called the idea "awesome."
"That's definitely an honor," Vilme said.
Mello became involved with the society's Team in Training fundraising largely by chance. None of her friends or family members have been directly affected by the disease, nor has she ever battled it herself.
But after a severe car accident in March left her with injuries throughout the right side of her body, Mello was forced to leave her work as a broker for nearly a month to undergo intense physical therapy. It also left her with a desire to "do something good" this summer.
Then, in early June, during a hike in the Blue Hills in Milton, she ran into one of the society's Teams in Training, part of the program that's raised more than $1 billion for cancer research while preparing participants for a number of endurance activities.
Within 10 minutes of research, she signed up on June 7. Three weeks later, she is more than halfway to her goal.
"I haven't really slept at all," she said with a laugh, adding it's changed more than her schedule.
"You're listening to these stories about someone who lost a loved one or you hear a story about someone who survived from this," she said. "It was just so amazing. A part of you just wants to cry."
The restaurant has scheduled extra staff in anticipation of the event, McNamara said. Though the timing of the fundraiser and Thevenin's death is pure coincidence, she said she expects it to raise awareness for the event.
"With Henry's passing, I know the city of Brockton was deeply affected by that," McNamara said.
For more information, contact Communications and Media Relations at 508-565-1321.