First Annual Easter Egg Hunt
by Kathleen Kirwin
The field next to Charman’s Restaurant on Lowell Road was a sight to see last Saturday. It was covered in 5,000 pastel colored eggs in preparation for Hudson’s first annual Prudential Verani Easter Egg Hunt.
The hunt was personally sponsored by Barbara Davey, Heidi Barahona, and Lynne Monk, all realtors who work out of Prudential Verani Realty in Nashua. They spent over a week stuffing the thousands of eggs for the crowd of 500 children that would come to the egg hunt.
“We wanted to give something back to the community,” said Davey.
At 11 a.m. the hunt officially began, and children ran out onto the egg covered grass to fill their baskets. Each child had their own way of picking out the perfect 10 eggs to put in their baskets. Some grabbed the first 10 they could get their hands on, some ran from group to group selecting one from each pile, and some gathered a mountain of eggs in front of them and began to go though them like miniature quality inspectors - only the finest pastel gems would make it into their baskets.
The Easter Bunny sat in a large white chair on the side of the egg hunting field dressed in a colorful rainbow tie and vest. After they finished hunting, children were quick to scramble up into the Bunny’s lap for a picture and a quick hug.
Parents and kids stopped at a table covered with Easter baskets wrapped in colorful cellophane paper and filled with toys. The egg hunt attendees could participate in a free raffle for one of the several toy-filled Easter baskets that would be given away at the end of the day.
Hudson’s first annual easter egg hunt also engaged much of the community. The Hudson Fire Department parked one of their fire engines behind Charman’s and encouraged the kids to sit in it and take pictures. Officers from the Hudson Police Department were there as well, handing out officer trading cards. The kids loved the interaction with Hudson’s emergency response teams.
In addition, Cheryl Darisse and Jenifer Fredericksen of Feel Safe Again, were also there, handing out information about their SMART-Kid™ Project and free coloring books. Collins Dentistry was also present, giving away free dental impressions to all the kids.
A large bouncy castle was also free for all of the kids to play in. As more kids finished egg hunting, the line to get inside of the bouncy castle was the longest. It was a hit as big as the Easter Bunny!
Davey and Barahona agreed the day was a great success. They were expecting 500 kids to attend the event. Although they did not do a formal count at the event, by 2 o’clock all of the eggs were gone. They plan on making the Easter Egg Hunt a yearly event, hoping it grows in popularity every year.
“Soon we’ll have to start packing the eggs for next year the day after the hunt is over,” Barahona said with a laugh.
Prudential Verani Realty, which serves the Hudson and Litchfield communities, is located on 125 East Dunstable Road in Nashua. For more information on their realty services or the easter egg hunt, call 459-1114 or visit www.verani.com.
Matty Dubuc: An Angel Watching Over Us
by Maureen Gillum
A brave seven year old, Matthew Richard Dubuc, died peacefully last week in his Hudson home with his family close by. With permission from his parents, the Hudson~Litchfield News, excerpted some Web journal entries (www.caringbridge.org/visit/matty) to help tell his story. Readers may also remember “Matty” on the front page of the Hudson~Litchfield News on October 7, 2005, dressed in a Red Sox jacket. With obvious pride and equal determination, the bald six-year old threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Fenway Park (9/05). That image alone many won’t forget; but it is Matty’s immense faith and compassion in the face of his illness that is most unforgettable.
The courageous youngster died Sunday night, March 25, at his Eagle Drive home with his family – dad John, mom Sandra (Cohan), and brothers Christopher, 9, and Zachary,2, – by his side. He succumbed to Hepatoblastoma, a rare form of liver cancer, as the Hudson~Litchfield News reported (3-30-07, page 3).
His mother wrote that night, “Our sweet Matty-boy earned his angel wings tonight. He died peacefully in his sleep, just what we prayed for.” She also added, “It just came to me that Christopher was the last one to tell Matty that he loved him, before Matty fell asleep tonight. That’s something I’ll remember forever!!”
Matthew was first diagnosed with Hepatoblastoma (liver cancer), Stage IV on July 6, 2004, at the tender age of four. It is a rare form of liver cancer and affects only one in a million children a year. Since then, the Dubucs have endured an incredible amount. “Stage IV of the disease means that it has spread; in Matthew’s case it spread to his lungs (at initial diagnosis and 13 months later when he relapsed), brain and left wrist bone,” explained his mother. In total, Matt had extensive months of chemotherapy, more than a dozen surgeries (including three lung and two brain surgeries), radiation, and a successful liver transplant. Through it all, they maintained an amazing attitude of faith.
When his wrist tumor got aggressive with no response to chemotherapy or radiation, his left arm was amputated from the elbow down in October 2006. Open, brave and intelligent beyond his years, Matthew returned to his class at St. Louis School in Lowell following his surgery, declaring, “I have a new arm.”
“Although we were told on November 20, 2006, that there is nothing short of a miracle that will help Matty beat this battle, we continue to believe!” yet affirmed his family.
Shortly after, Matthew returned to his first grade class at St. Louis School, to openly talk to his classmates and teacher, Sister Judy. He told them he was going to die and would be going to heaven. In true Matty style, he even tried his best to comfort and cheer them. He told his friends, in heaven, there would be no cancer or pain and his arm he would see his hand again.
Among Matthew’s first-grade classmates are the Grenier triplets of Hudson - Olivia, Nicholas, and Madaline. All three unselfishly put their prayer “for Matty to get better” on top of their Christmas wish list and encouraged others to support their friend via the Hudson’s Christmas Lights (75 Pelham Road) and his website, as cited in Hudson~Litchfield News (12-22-06, page 1). “Matty is a really brave boy that we all love,” Nick commented for all.
Matthew relished shopping trips to Toys R Us. He loved animals, especially his dog, aptly named Courage. Like many kids, he enjoyed Sponge Bob Square Pants. Matty belonged to the Lowell Youth Soccer Organization. He was the Honorary Vice-President of the East End Club of Lowell. A Boston Red Sox fan, Matthew gloried in throwing out that first pitch at Fenway on September 29, 2005.
He wasn’t afraid to stand out or be different nor did he seem to fear death. A living model of faith, Matthew was a member of St. Marguerite D’Youville Parish, formerly St. Louis Church in Lowell.
Most of all, Matty adored his family, including his parents; big brother, Christopher, 9, a third grader at St. Louis School; and his little brother, Zachary, just 2. “Christopher has always been a very good big brother,” shared Mom recently, “And Zachary has been a very good distraction for Matty (and for all of us) because he makes it too hard to focus on the frustrations of cancer when you see his smile and hear his laugh!”
A special support and communication vehicle the Dubucs used since 2005 for Matty was CaringBridge® (www.caringbridge.org). The free, non-profit web service connects family and friends to share information, love, and support during a health crisis, treatment, and recovery. A social network akin to My Space, it takes just a few moments to create your own personal and private CaringBridge Website.
Sandra posted the night (3-29) of Matty’s funeral: “How many people can say that the day they buried their child, was an awesome day? Today was an unbelievable tribute to my Matty-boy! Over 900 people attended Matty’s funeral mass.” She also detailed the long funeral procession of almost 200 cars, was led by Lowell Police motorcycles “in perfect Matty style.” Many were also touched by the St. Louis School children lined up to honor Matty outside the church. “One class held signs reading “St. Louis School Loves U Matty!” commented Sandra, “It was so incredible to see!!”
Now, more than a week since Matty “left us here on earth,” Sandra wrote to her son, “We miss you so very much! We love you to everywhere and back!” Always concerned with others, Mom also asked Matty to “please visit” his friends like Matthew F. and relatives like his grandparents “in their dreams to let them know you are OK and how very much they are loved!!”
Impressively, since Sandra launched Matty’s Website in August of 2005, he’s had more than 10,000 posted guest messages - of friendship, information, hope, prayers, tributes, and remembrances. Nearly 1,000 are from the past week alone, as far away as Ireland. Many are from neighbors, relatives, and friends to keep in touch, virtually visit, and share photos. Most, however, are from people across the country and even from around the globe whom the Dubucs have never met nor likely will. Such vehicles as CaringBridge can be powerful potential healers that offer both authors and guests “immediacy, intimacy, and wide-reaching impact.”
“Matty was such a brave boy. I know that he made an impact in everyone’s life,” one eighth grader, Kara, from Matty’s school posted at his Website recently, “Keep believing! I know Matty is an angel in heaven watching over all of you!”
Matthew’s family also requested anyone who wishes to send donations in Matty’s name to send it to the Childhood Cancer Lifeline of NH. PO Box 395, Hillsboro, NH 03244. “Your donation will go toward building a huge tree house at Camp Winning Spirit,” shared Mom. “Matty always wanted a tree house!”
“People have been so kind and generous. Johnny and I truly appreciate everyone’s ongoing support,” concluded Sandra sincerely. “We are so blessed!”
Ham and Bean Supper
by Lynne Ober
Every year the Litchfield Firefighters’ Association hosts a Ham and Bean Supper – featuring Warren Adams secret recipe for beans.
Nearly 300 residents attended this year’s affair. Money raised at the event is used to support the Litchfield Fire Department.
Last year, the Litchfield Firefighters’ Association bought a Kaboda 4-wheel all terrain vehicle. “It cost a lot, but it’s been worth its weight in gold,” laughed Warren Adams. “That vehicle can go places that we can’t get any other of our vehicles – especially if the ground is very muddy. It’s so light that it skims over the mud that would bog down any other vehicle. We’ve used it a lot.”
Not only does the association save taxpayer dollars through their donations, they offer the community an enjoyable evening out.
The fire trucks were outside the building for the kids to see. The weather was warm enough that an intriguing game of pine cone baseball was being played by some, while their parents chatted with friends inside.
“This year we held it a week later than normal,” said Warren. If the kids have anything to say about it, the schedule will be kept in future years because they enjoyed being outside in the warming air.
Mr. Steer in Londonderry provides the ham, potato salad, and hot dogs at their cost. “That is a lovely donation,” said Adams, “because it really stretches our dollars and the meat is a very high quality.”
The beans are an old Adams family recipe. While Warren will tell you that, he won’t tell you what the recipe is.
Attendees could have hot dogs, ham, pineapple, potato salad, cake and beverages – and all for less than you could make the same dinner at home.
The kitchen was staffed with smiling blue-shirted fire fighters who were enjoying their interaction with attendees.
If you didn’t come this year, remember to come next year.