Supporters turn out for fundraiser to support Fern Ornelas
“This is phenomenal. A great response,” said Bruce Bellucci, owner of P.J. O'Sullivan's. “Any time you've got 50-75 people standing out front in the cold, socializing and watching the game, you know you've got a good response. Everybody's positive.”Tickets were $15 for one or $25 for a pair and a silent auction was planned featuring memorabilia from Boston sports teams like the Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins donated to the cause.
A former star pitcher and basketball player at Memorial High School, Ornelas was a big sports fan who stopped in regularly at the bar, Bellucci said.Ornelas, 54, is listed in good condition at Massachusetts General Hospital. He was taken there on Oct. 17 with a broken neck, paralyzed from the waist down.
A fundraiser last month at Derryfield Country Club, where Ornelas golfed regularly, brought in $14,200. Organizer Tom North, a golfing buddy of Ornelas, hoped Thursday night would add another $10,000 to the fund.“People have been very generous. The donations have been incredible,” North said. “I hoped that the turnout would be good, but I never expected this.”The atmosphere seemed like a busy Thursday night, but was more a party among more than a hundred friends who have some connection to Ornelas since his childhood days in Manchester.“This is like a neighborhood that has come together. I'm seeing people I haven't seen since grammar school,” friend Nancy Lapierre said. “I think he would be really emotional if he saw how many people care about him.”firstname.lastname@example.org