By EMMALEE C. TORISK
Helen Bond felt at a loss for words Sunday, during the benefit dinner in her honor. It was the first time in years that the 32-year-old, who had been a DJ for about a decade, actually was speechless while armed with a microphone.
“Then, I just started thanking everybody, and telling them that this is temporary, that the babies and I are going to be OK,” said Bond, who was diagnosed with acute renal failure in June and is five months pregnant with twin boys. “I’m grateful for everybody.”
The spaghetti dinner and auction — organized primarily by Bond’s mother, Debbie Fraticelli of Boardman — raised about $5,000 for Bond, who also is mother to 14-year-old Alyssa Guerrieri and 11-year-old Dylan Bond, and hasn’t been able to work since her diagnosis.
Instead of working for her uncle at Roberto’s Italian Ristorante, as she had done beforehand, the past few months of Bond’s life have been filled with dialysis treatments, which she undergoes six days a week for three hours each day.
Plus, fluid in her legs and feet — a side effect of the medications and her illness, among other factors — has made walking difficult.
Bond’s insurance will cover only three months of treatment, however, and next Thursday will mark two months. Still, there’s no sign of stopping anytime soon, she said, adding that she may even be readmitted to the hospital for a full week of twice-daily dialysis treatments.
“We didn’t have any expectations for the dinner,” Bond said. “We were just hoping for enough to cover our expenses.”
But the strong turnout for the benefit, at Holy Rosary Educational Center in Lowellville, was overwhelming, she said.
No tables were available at one point, and the family feared they might run out of food, Fraticelli added. She estimated that about 300 family members, friends and even complete strangers just wanting to help attended the dinner.
In addition, an abundance of local businesses, organizations and individuals donated nearly 100 items for the auction, while both family and friends volunteered to prepare and serve food at the event.
“We had a lot of help and a lot of support,” Fraticelli said. “It was wonderful, absolutely wonderful. It’s amazing how people step up.”
Bond explained that not much with her condition will change until after the twins, Jase and Noah, are born, likely a few months ahead of schedule in October or November. Then, she’ll know the next step, which probably will involve more-aggressive, or normal, treatments.
At this point, Bond said, it’s a waiting game, but she’s hopeful that her life soon will return to normal, or at least more normal than it’s been lately.
“Before you get sick, you take a lot for granted. It opens your eyes,” she said. “The donations, the phone calls, the cards — everything that people have done, I’m so grateful for. I can never repay them, but I will never forget it.”
Monetary donations still are being accepted at Huntington Bank via the “Benefit for Helen Jane Bond” account.