July 29th, 2014 – We were finally going away for a family vacation. Just going north for a few days but as a business owner, even that was a rarity! A message came up over Facebook – a request for me to call a friend – I sensed something was off and immediately reached out. What followed truly has left an impact on me that is difficult to put into words….
A sweet young lady, a friend of my daughters, a woman who, I was expecting to facilitate with wedding flowers one day, had been taken.
I love to talk about Kayla, I talk all the time about her with her mom, Karen, who, I have become very close with… let me tell you little bit about Kayla….
Kayla was a graduate of Pinkerton Academy, Derry, class of 2011. She was currently in her third year of college at St. Anselm College in Manchester, and was set for early graduation in December 2014. She was majoring in computer science and minoring in Web design as well as business management. Kayla was a member of the Venture Crew. She enjoyed kayaking, hiking, baking, helping others, but most of all spending time with family and friends. She truly was a bright light in so many ways!
Kayla’s funeral was beyond beautiful!! It was heavily attended and a memory I will never forget! Looking at her as I placed her final farewell flowers atop her, she truly looked like an angel!
That, in no way, was the end! The Bertolami family wanted people to remember Kayla and give back, the way that Kayla would have wanted. Hence, the Kayla Bertolami fund was created. In order to get it established, we needed to raise $25,000 – no small task but was I going to help make it happen – you bet I was!
As a full service and event florist, I have made some wonderful connections over the years – where could we hold this? Castleton Banquet and Conference Center… Dawn immediately said yes!! Hurray, venue found, next we needed dancing – Lori D. Entertainment, yes!! That was just the beginning! We needed donations for a silent auction as well as items to raffle off!! You would get tired of reading this blog if I thanked every single person who donated – but suffice to say, the outpouring and generosity of people was outstanding!!! Vacations, sporting event tickets, concert tickets, even a Rob Gronkowski picture from the New England Patriots!! So much excitement!! Word got out, I helped raise awareness for the event and yeehawww…. between people bidding, and throwing the prize back in for rebid, we blew it out of the water and far exceeded what was needed to establish the fund in Kayla’s name!! WMUR ran a piece whereby they spoke with the Bertolami family about their daughter, establishing the fund and what it meant to them. If can be viewed here http://www.wmur.com/news/family-creates-scholarship-fund-to-remember-daughter/30435072
The fund benefited one NH student over the past year by awarding a scholarship. This young girl, taken too soon, was going to keep giving, the same way she did in life! While established, we’ve decided to hold the benefit every year. This year the benefit is scheduled for March 19th, 2016 and we want to make sure to sell out and continue to be able to help NH students in persuing their dream career! I know Kayla looks down and smiles at all of our efforts! Karen and David Bertolami thank me every day for my efforts in helping them but I want to thank the angel, for bringing me closer to an amazing family – for all she did in the short time we were blessed with having her, and for continuing to allow us to give back in a way that makes her proud!
You can learn more about Pulmonary Embolism here:
Additionally on that page, you can make direct donations, purchase tickets to the benefit and see some wonderful pictures and videos of this girl!!
If you are inclined and are ready to purchase… here is a direct link to the eventbrite page
My thanks as well should go out to the Bertolami family for allowing me to be a part of an amazing cause!