Fundraising continues for Londonderry third-grader
LONDONDERRY — A kick-a-thon fundraiser for South Londonderry Elementary School third-grader Bella Tucker, who has been seriously ill since Easter Sunday, is being planned at the American Kenpo Academy at 150A Nashua Road on June 5 at 3 p.m.
Bella, 8, has been at Children's Hospital in Boston since April 4. She was in a coma for five days after contracting a life-threatening infection caused by streptococcus pneumonia sepsis. The infection caused extensive tissue damage and, on April 27, Bella had to have quadruple amputation surgery. She has undergone three surgeries and is facing two to three more. Then she will begin a long rehabilitation process before returning home.
"It will be four to six months before Bella can come home," said Tammy Kozlowski, a close family friend. "There is a lot of work to be done on her family's home to make it handicap accessible."
Kozlowski said a ramp is not a possibility because of the way the house is built. The only option is an elevator on the outside of the home.
"We got an estimate from All-Ways Accessible and it would be about $30,000," Kozlowski said. "We are also seeing if we can get a van donated."
Ben Loi, South School's assistant principal, said the school has been keeping parents informed of Bella's progress "in a sensitive manner."
"We are also still collecting donations in our main office," he said. "People can drop off a check or cash for the Bella Tucker fund."
Cheryl Haas, a South School PTA mom with two daughters who attend the American Kenpo Academy, approached owners Peter and Kara Tessitore to see if they would hold a fundraising event for Bella.
The Tessitores lost their oldest son at the age of 19 and Peter said martial arts has helped them keep a positive attitude, and redirect their anger and sadness with the stress of everyday life.
"That's why I want to do this for Bella," Tessitores said.
For more information on the kick-a-thon, call 425-0085. Kozlowski has set up a Web site with information on Bella and a fund to help her family. Visit www.bellatucker.org.