Over 650 members of the SouthCoast community gathered last night at the gorgeous Bay Club in Mattapoisett for the 4th Annual Friends of Jack Gala.  The weather was picture perfect for the September event.  Speakers included Governor Charlie Baker, members of Boston Children's Hospital, and New Bedford Police Chief Joseph Cordeiro.

The Friends of Jack is the beneficiary of Fun 107's Food For Tots Program.  Christine Fox, Gazelle, Jackson, and Phil Paleolgos all joined me for the night of celebration.

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The audience heard first hand about the direct impact The Friends of Jack Foundation is making on children here in the immediate area.  The chief shared a number of personal stories he had about how the Friends of Jack Foundation's teddy bear and superhero programs brought "Christmas Magic" to kids all year round while they were going through some of their toughest times.

The Friends of Jack Foundation is working towards sponsoring a child life specialist the Boston Children's Hospital satellite in Dartmouth.  A representative from Boston Children's explained that a child life specialist helps kids get through difficult medical procedures through education and play.  For example, a child with autism that needed to undergo a brain scan had a coloring book sent to the family in advance of the procedure.  The family had a chance to work on the book with the boy.  The parents share information about what the child's likes and interests are.  For example, if the child enjoys Star Wars, a simple brain scan can take on a Jedi Knight theme.

We heard about how St. Anne's Hospital has rolled out new Power Wheels cars that children can drive into their surgeries.  The toys are designed to distract any anxiety the kids may be experiencing moments before they are brought into the operating room.

Dr. Brian Sard spoke about the everyday difference the Friends of Jack is making with their support of the Boston Children's Hospital doctors at St. Lukes Hospital.

The Friends of Jack Foundation raised over a quarter-million dollars last night.  The creator of the foundation, Jilline Fearons, pledged that this was only the beginning.  "I can't thank my husband, George, and my kids enough for understanding how much time I need to put into this.  I told them that it would be easier next year, although that might just be a little lie," she joked.

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