NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

November 26, 2012

Artists craft a fundraiser for Amesbury's Paige Fortin

By Mac Cerullo
Staff Writer

---- — AMESBURY — It’s been a grueling two months for Paige Fortin, the 18-year-old Amesbury teen who is still recovering from the scooter accident in which she lost her leg and nearly lost her life.

On Sept. 15, Paige was struck by a truck while she was riding a scooter with her boyfriend in Haverhill. The impact knocked Paige 50 feet down the road. After being Medflighted to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, her doctors described the injuries she sustained to her leg as the worst they had ever seen.

Paige has endured over a half-dozen surgeries since then, and her leg had to be amputated from the knee down. She has been steadily recovering since then; and while she still has a long way to go, she is now back home with her family.

“She will probably have to undergo additional surgery on the flap and additional skin grafts before fitting for a prosthetic leg can begin,” said Becky Pelletier, a family friend of the Fortins. “But she remains upbeat through most of it, and she continues to inspire everyone around her.”

As part of her recovery, Paige is making weekly trips to Boston and Foxboro to see her team of doctors and surgeons, and she has a nurse visit her home daily to help with wound care and cleaning, Pelletier said. The family also received a therapy cat named Elliott from Heart Song Himalayan and Persian Cattery in Maine last week.

Since the accident, the Fortin family has received a tremendous outpouring of support from friends, family members, people in the community and from total strangers. A group on Facebook called “Let’s Help Paige Fortin,” created shortly after the accident, has over 7,350 likes, and numerous fundraisers have been held across the region to support Paige and her family.

Periodically, the family has posted updates and photos related to Paige’s recovery. Since returning home, pictures have been posted showing Paige walking on crutches, voting for the first time and enjoying a pizza at Flatbread Co. with her boyfriend Josh Zaino, who escaped serious injury in the accident.

The group is also advertising the fundraisers benefiting Paige and her family, who are facing a mountain of medical bills stemming from Paige’s care and who will need to retrofit their home for her recovery.

On Friday, Jon Mooers Art Gallery will be sponsoring a big art auction to benefit Paige. The auction will be conducted by auctioneer John McInnis and will feature nearly 100 original pieces of art donated by artists across the country.

The Home for the Holidays Art Auction will be held from 6 to 11 p.m. at the Holy Family Parish Hall. Tickets for the event are $20 per person, and the art available for bid can be previewed and bid on via silent auction at Jon Mooers Artists Gallery at 19 Main St. prior to the auction itself.

Beyond the art, the event will feature a gourmet dinner, live music from EJ Ouellette and Whole Music Studios, a silent auction of “Holiday Giving Trees” decorated with gifts by local businesses, and a raffle featuring an “Instant Wine Cellar” — or a table top of wine — as the grand prize.

So far more than $16,208 has been raised through her Recovery Fund’s online portal, in addition to the $17,000 raised at October’s hugely successful Flatbread Co. fundraiser. Donors can contribute to the “Paige Fortin Recovery Fund” at any Provident Bank location or with a credit card online at http://www.gofundme.com/17os5w.

Tickets to the art auction can be purchased at Jon Mooers Gallery or online at www.ArtforPaige.com.