PLATTSBURGH - If you ask Debra LaPorte, there are very few times in a year when an entire community comes together. However, on Sept. 26, more than 50 students, family, and friends did just that as they joined together to form the team "Nick's Knights" for the Plattsburgh Start! Heart Walk.
"This is the third year we've come together and every year I continue to be amazed by the outpouring of support," said Debra, who served as team captain.
The Chazy woman is the mother of the late Nicholas LaPorte, who was 14 years old when he died of an undetected heart condition in May 2006. Nicholas' brother, Noah, joined his mother in raising money this year, setting a goal of $500. The Seton Academy fifth-grader solicited donations by asking his fellow students to purchase a red, silver or gold heart. The response was overwhelming.
"I didn't think I would do so good, but every day I got more donations, even from the teachers, said Noah, who also raised money by returning bottles and bringing clothes that no longer fit him to a local thrift shop.
In total, he raised $642.
Building on her brother's example, Cailee LaPorte raised funds at Seton Catholic through heart sales.
"Everyone still remembers my brother," she said. "All his friends are really nice to me and treat me just like a little sister. It's a very nice feeling."
Cailee additionally solicited family and friends to support her effort. In total, she raised $506 toward the cause.
Another $500 club member and Seton Catholic High School senior, Alexa Cosgro, raised $560 to help Nick's Knights gain "Superstar" team status. Superstar teams raise $3,000 or more and are given special recognition at the walk.
"The fact that many of Nick's classmates from Seton Catholic participate in the Heart Walk is a great testament to the concern that our students have for one another," said Paul Spilman, Seton Catholic Education Council president and a member of Nick's Knights. "Events like the Heart Walk showcase the true family spirit of Seton Catholic."