All in the name of Momma D

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Monica Coelho, left, recently completed a fundraising effort as part of her 25th birthday celebrations in support of Paula DeVito, right – Momma D. Hoping to raise $100 for every year she’s been alive, Coelho instead raised $11,000. The funds all go to cancer research.

Birthday fundraiser effort raises $11,000

Six hours. That’s all it took.

Chatham’s Monica Coelho came up with a fundraising alternative to a traditional birthday party: Help raise funds to combat cancer, and do it in the name of “Momma D.”

Coelho said Momma D – aka Paula DeVito – is her future mother-in-law and she’s battling cancer. So for about a month leading up to Coelho’s birthday, the plan was to raise funds online in Momma D’s name in lieu of presents and a traditional birthday gathering.

It was simple; Coelho turns 25, so the goal was to raise $2,500 in a month’s time.

They hit their target a mere six hours into the effort.

“We blew that out of the water in six hours! It was unbelievable,” Coelho said. “We just made it to $11,000. It’s been pretty phenomenal. I never thought it would be this successful.”

Coelho said she initially spoke to her boyfriend, Massimo DeVito, and Momma D, about plans for her 25th birthday, it was back in 2021 and Momma D had not yet been diagnosed with cancer.

The fundraiser idea was hatched at the beginning of March. Coelho and a friend came up with the idea.

“I thought, ‘Why not do something for a good cause?’ It’s been family and friends that she’s touched. This is a true testimony for who she is. She wears her heart on her sleeve,” she said.

Coelho turned 25 on April 28. The fundraiser ended the same day.

“It’s a lot of money for research and equipment. And this provided a lot of encouragement for her (Momma D) too,” she said. “She’s gotten a lot of messages of support. So it’s a double whammy of sorts.”

Coelho said the support has been widespread, and appreciated.

“I’d like to say thank you to each and every individual who donated. It means so much to not only myself and Momma D, but for all individuals who in turn will benefit from the money raised,” she said.

Coelho said Jenny McGregor from the Windsor Cancer Foundation was a great support person during the fundraiser as well.

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