Community comes together to support local ALS foundation

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More than 100 people came out to support a local cause on March 24 for the second annual John Bocskocsky Memorial Event.

The organization was founded by Hillsborough Township resident, Deb Fabricatore, who lost her younger brother, John Bocskocsky to Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) at the age of 51.

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The event’s organizers said that proceeds from the evening will benefit HARK-ALS, a national non-profit dedicated to providing financial and compassionate resources to pALS (people with ALS).

This gathering marked the second event that Deb Fabricatore served as the host of.

“HARK-ALS helped me get through difficult and dark times after my brother’s passing,” Fabricatore said. “It is my personal mission to continue the John B. Memorial Event annually in an effort to bring awareness to the devastation of this debilitating disease and the support of organizations such as HARK-ALS.”

HARK is an active ALS charity organization founded by Donna Dourney York in memory of her father, Charles W. Dourney, a lifelong athlete, coach, and father of seven, battled ALS until his death in November 2009. HARK provides patient care assistance aimed to alleviate the burden faced by families battling ALS.

They offer support in many ways including purchasing Hopemobile handicap accessible vans, paying travel expenses for ALS patients to visit family, acquiring medical equipment not covered by insurance, with the intention to assist families with youths during the holidays and providing financial assistance for household expenses.

The gala and auction, which took place at Falcon’s Nest in Hillsborough, gathered community and state officials, including State Senator Kip Bateman (R- Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset), Congressman Tom Malinowski (D-Essex, Hunterdon, Morris, Somerset, Union, Warren), Assemblymen Roy Freiman (D-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset) and Andrew Zwicker (D-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset), Somerset County Clerk Steve Peter, Hillsborough Township Mayor Frank DelCore, Town Councilwomen Olivia Holmes and Gloria McCauley and Franklin Township Mayor Phil Kramer.

Also in attendance was the Hopewell Valley Central High School Robotics Team. Their particpaition in the event encouraged the idea to create a collaboration with the robotics community to develop projects to benefit people with ALS.

A silent auction was held at the event as well, which included an eclectic array of donations from the Applebee’s of Hillsborough, JLM Financial of Bridgewater, Sourland Cycles Hopewell, Northfield Bank, Wegmans and live music donated by James Popick of Hopewell and Alex Otey of Ewing.

Individuals interested in volunteering for next year’s gala committees are asked to contact Deb Fabricatore at debfab31@aol.com.

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