Every year on the anniversary of the opening of Lu-Lu's Solitary Consignment shop in North Fort Myers, Lu Ann Vasilou holds a charity fund-raiser, and this time she's going to hold one for a customer and friend whose grandson is fighting cancer.
Lu-Lu's will hold its seventh anniversary fund-raiser today, April 25, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at its store at the North Shore Shopping Center on North Cleveland Avenue.
The event will raise funds for 4-year-old Aries Xavier Boriboun, who last year was diagnosed with stage 4 nueroblastoma cancer. He is in remission, but is still undergoing chemotherapy and has a stem cell transplant and radiation coming up.
Many have already donated small gifts, with one woman having donated a gift basket for the silent auction, while others have contributed to the donation jar. One person dropped $20 in, and another $10.
Local businesses are getting into the act, with Joe's Italian ice selling its treats in front of the store, with 20 percent of all sales going toward Aries, and Rose from the fudge shop at the Shell Factory has donated samples of fudge for everyone.
The hope is that enough money is raised so the boy's mother, Julie Padgett, can spend the month with her son in the hospital instead of having to work.
When Julie, a single mother with three children, found out about the event, she was thrilled, said Suzan Padgett, the grandmother and spokesperson.
"We're very thankful she wanted to do it for her. I don't expect to raise a lot, just gas money for her to get back and forth from the hospital would be great and maybe pay some bills," Suzan Padgett said. "She couldn't believe a total stranger would do this for her."
Aries will spend the next month at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., where he and his family live. He will undergo intense chemo, which has already resulted in sores on his mouth and down his throat.
Aries had the cancer in his abdomen at 18 months, but it came back, this time going into his stomach and bones, which stacked the odds of survival against him.
Suzan Padgett, who is caring for her sick father and can't leave Florida, has set up fundraising jars at Rosie's Homemade Fudge inside the Shell Factory. When LuAnn found out, she said she wanted to help.
"I figured I'd help her financially any way I could, and that's the reason for the fundraiser," Padgett said. "They are the light of my life. They're my grandchildren."
The store will donate 10 percent of the proceeds to the Padgetts and there will be silent auction items for people to bid on. Padgett said she already has a ring set and some other jewelry.
Padgett is also asking for prayers for Aries, and she has gone to numerous churches in the area to get them involved in providing them. That is the reason he is in remission, Padgett said.
For more information call Lu-Lu's at 656-0990 or the "Pray for Aries" page on Facebook.