On August 25th, Laurie Sylvia of Fairhaven passed away after contracting EEE (Eastern Equine Encephalitis) just eight days prior.

Since the tragic passing, her son Bobby had slipped into a dark place, deep depression and has had trouble shaking it. This has made it difficult for him to work, causing him to lose his job and fall behind on rent and bills. Being the sole provider for his family, Bobby has been doing everything he can to get back on his feet but has had no luck so far.

Bobby and his girlfriend Michele have three children and are struggling to get by.

A couple of years ago, Michele and Bobby encountered a chronic delivery with their third child, Gabrielle Jane, that almost killed Michele. Fighting for her life, she was rushed immediately from delivery to ICU and was put in an induced coma. Thankfully, Michele was revived and was sent home six days after the frightening experience.

Laurie, being the strong and supportive woman that she was, never left Michele's side the entire hospital stay.

This was just the tip of the iceberg of who Laurie truly was as a loving figure in the family and community, always willing and wanting to help others before herself.

Fast forward to this past summer, as the terrifying news concerning Laurie's sudden illness was delivered to the family just one day before Gabby’s second birthday. Less than a week later, the doctors gave the family the devastating news that she had succumbed to EEE.

With the holidays approaching and funds at a minimum, Bobby and Michelle are worried they won't be able to give their children – Jordan 12, Layla, 4, and Gabby, 2 – the Christmas they deserve, or even a Christmas at all. Rent is well overdue and spirits are depleted for the entire family, so a helping hand would most certainly go a long way.

Although Bobby could use the help, his biggest wish is to spread awareness of the severity of his situation, to protect yourself from EEE and to hold your loved ones a little closer this holiday season.

Text to Donate: Text WISHES to 313131. You will be sent a United Way e-link that allows you to make a donation via credit card to this family when you select the day and date of which family you wish to help from the drop-down menu.

By Check: Make checks payable to the United Way of Greater New Bedford and in the memo line, write HOLIDAY WISH and the day and date of the family you wish to help. Checks can be dropped off at Fun 107 studios during normal business hours or mailed to United Way of Greater New Bedford, 128 Union Street, Suite 105, New Bedford, MA 02740.

Donate by Credit Card: You can make a secure donation to the United Way via credit card HERE. Select the day and date of the family you wish to help from the "Please Select a Family" drop-down menu.

Donations of Gift Cards can be dropped off at Fun 107. Please leave a note saying the card is for HOLIDAY WISH and the day and date of the family you wish to help, along with your name.

All of our families are pre-selected through the United Way of Greater New Bedford. If you are in need of assistance, please contact the United Way directly. 

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