Monday October 8, 2012

BRATTLEBORO -- At age 14, Lexy Giallella is an avid hunter and, her mother says, a "country girl all the way."

Appropriately enough, the Brookline teen showed up at a gathering Saturday in Brattleboro proudly clutching a new hunting license.

But she also acknowledged the reason for that gathering: She was diagnosed last month with a rare form of cancer, leading friends, family and people she doesn’t even know to band together to help raise money for the long, tough road ahead.

"This means a lot," Giallella said.

The occasion on Saturday was a bake sale outside Brattleboro’s Elks Lodge on Putney Road. Supporters from that lodge quickly have put together a series of events benefiting what they’ve dubbed Lexy’s Fund.

"This club is really great. We’ve raffled off Red Sox tickets and NASCAR tickets," said Ruth Gorham Houle, who is chairwoman of the effort.

Motioning toward Cherish Clark and Randy Clark, Giallella’s mother and stepfather, Gorham Houle said: "They do so much for the club. We needed to do something for them."

Nearby, a Jeep Liberty donated by Mark’s Motors of Brattleboro was on display. The Jeep will be auctioned off to benefit Lexy’s Fund: Tickets are $10 each or $25 for three, and they’re available by calling Houle at 802-999-7194.

A benefit breakfast buffet is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Oct. 14 at the Elks Lodge. Costs are $8 for adults and $4 for children, and the event is open to the public.


Advertisement

And a Nov. 30 benefit auction is planned at the lodge. Organizers are seeking donations.

People’s United Bank also is contributing, holding a bake sale and luncheons. Tickets for a fall basket raffle are available in the lobby of the bank’s operations center, 629 Putney Road.

Standing outside the Elks Lodge Saturday, Cherish Clark was informed of another pending fundraiser she had not been aware of.

"You can’t even describe it," she said. "Saying ‘thank you’ is never enough."

Giallella was diagnosed Sept. 1 with hepatocellular carcinoma, a form of liver cancer. Treatment has begun, with surgery the ultimate goal.

"She’s doing great," her mother said. "She did have her first round of chemo and came through it with flying colors."

Giallella is a ninth-grader at Leland & Gray Union High School in Townshend. She missed some school but now can attend classes through a new arrangement: She goes to Leland & Gray in the morning, then participates in afternoon classes via an online video connection.

"The school has been awesome," her mother said, adding that her daughter was looking forward to hunting season.

On Saturday, Giallella’s father, Bob Giallella, took her to pick up a hunting license.

"We’re hoping for the best, because it’s so rare," he said of his daughter’s cancer. "She’s definitely a fighter. She’s doing a great job."

More supporters have been joining that fight since Gorham Houle established a "Lexy’s Fund" page on Facebook. There is information about events and how to donate on the site, and Gorham Houle expects to soon offer online sales of special Lexy’s Angels bracelets.

"People are responding," she said. "Last night, I put this on the page and some guy in California said, ‘I want five.’"

Looking around the tables set up for Saturday’s bake sale, Gorham Houle marveled at the variety of goods.

"We don’t even know who brought in some of this stuff," she said.