Update Oct. 29
Montville Patch has learned that our recent Person of the Week, 10-year-old Trevor Lamirande, raised $1,800 from his Breast Cancer Awareness fundraiser at Oakdale School.
The money, in his aunt Traci Hart's name, will be donated to the Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation.
In an email from Trevor's awesome mom, Kristen, she said Trevor "knows his aunt Traci is proud of him."
"He said he knows it and can feel it," Kristen said.
Trevor, she said, "just did what Aunt Traci would want him to do, and that's make people know how bad cancer is and that it's hurts people we love."
Here’s the thing about Trevor Lamirande: If he asked you to walk on hot coals, you’d do it. Those freckles, those cheeks, that smile and that heart!
At almost 10½ (yes, the half matters when you’re 10), the cherub-faced fifth-grader should be playing, rolling in fall’s leaves, riding his bike, watching cartoons, reading, playing video games and hanging with his fellas. Instead, of late he’s been devoted to organizing a fundraiser to help scientists come up with a cure for breast cancer.
Why? Because he , following a fearless 10-year war the Montville native and treasured teacher waged against the disease.
“She was nice. She was fun. I loved her. A lot. And I really miss her,” Trevor said, in hushed tones, at once shy and, well, 10.
He misses swimming in her pool, Christmas Eve in her house, talking to her at night and her hugs.
“I’m very sad without her.”
“I don’t know why, but I kinda just wanted to do something so we could get money to give for breast cancer (research). They need the money.”
Trevor said he just felt like he needed to do something. So he talked with his mom, Kristin Taylor, Traci’s sister, and came up with a plan to place a large pickle-type jar in the hall of the Oakdale School, a repository for donated coins (and cold, hard cash, hopefully, too) earmarked for breast cancer research through the Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation. Trevor figures the scientists can use very dime.
“Yeah, I thought that was a good idea,” Trevor said, sipping iced tea in the Uncasville Dunkin’ Donuts where Montville Patch met with him, his mother and his 13-year-old brother, Jarrett.
Trevor proudly wore pink (real men can do that): a pink baseball cap emblazoned with his beloved aunt’s name and a t-shirt that announced, proudly, “I Wear Pink For My Aunt." He also has a heart-shaped pendant that features Traci’s face on a chain he wears close to his own heart.
“We always had fun. She was happy," Trevor said. "It’s sad that she (passed away) and it hurts, yeah.”
The Family Reaction
“We never imagined, for his age, to express himself this way, to come up with this all on his own. We’re proud,” said step-dad Michael Taylor.
And mom Kristin is at once filled with pride and joy over her son’s efforts even as she mourns her sister.
“She was so important to all of us, but what Trev is doing shows how much he loved her and we’re all so proud that he decided he wanted to do something," Kristin said. "He’s awesome!”
Oakdale School’s Commitment
In an effort to draw attention to Breast Cancer Awareness Month, through no shortage of lobbying by Trevor, Oakdale Elementary School has a week’s worth of events slated.
Principal Mark Johnson praised Trevor’s selfless dedication to the cause.
“Trevor has been instrumental in bringing this initiative forward at Oakdale School,” he said in an email to Montville Patch. “He is passionate about doing things that will honor his aunt’s memory and at the same time benefit a cause that will help others in the future.”
Traci Hart was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001 and lost her battle 10 years later. A longtime first-grade teacher at Dr. Charles E. Murphy School, Kristin said her sister braved on every day, no matter what.
“For 10 years she fought and fought. And she never, ever said, ‘Why me?’ She hardly ever missed school. She just carried on. She’s my hero.”
After her death, fundraising events were held in Traci's honor for the benefit of her children, Kristin said. Between a to the $15,000 raised at June’s “people loved her so much that we’ve seen incredible support.”
Traci hoped to make it to her 40th birthday, Kristin said, though sadly that didn’t happen. A few weeks after she passed away, her family went to her graveside on her birthday and released 40 balloons: “We all cried and cried that day.”
“I don’t want to be sad (because Traci) wouldn’t want (him to be). But I kinda still am. I wanted to do the (fundraiser) to help (others with) breast cancer. That’s why. Yeah, she’d like it.”
And for all he’s doing and all he is at such a young age, Montville Patch is proud to have Trevor Lamirande as its Person of the Week!