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Fundraiser for family tops goal in just three days

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MALONE - After an influx of donations from more than 170 people both online and in the mail, it looks like the Hogeboon family of Malone is headed to Disney World.

Heather Hogeboon’s childhood friend, Christine Porter, managed to raise more than $7,800 in less than three days so Ms. Hogeboon could make some memories with her three sons.

Ms. Hogeboon is currently facing her third bout with cancer, and this time the odds aren’t looking good. But with Ms. Porter’s help, she can at least look forward to some family time.

“I am in awe,” Ms. Hogeboon said. “From the bottom of my heart and soul, and for my sons, I cannot express with words alone how the outpouring of support has touched me.”

People turned out from every nook and cranny of Ms. Hogeboon’s life to support her. Former students. Friends and family. Complete strangers. Some of the most special contributions for her came from old classmates: people she hasn’t spoken to in almost 25 years.

Former schoolmate Scott Boyer led the charge for the Franklin Academy class of ‘89, she said, messaging many people individually to update them on her story. Ms. Hogeboon guesses that at least $2,000 came from old classmates, and at least 60 to 70 percent of the class donated.

“I think I’m still in shock,” she said. “I keep saying, ‘Pinch me.’”

Ms. Hogeboon said her son Denver has always wanted to go to Disney World, has even “begged” for it, but after eight years of battling breast cancer her financial situation never allowed for it.

With the help of people across the state, the extensive donations make sure that the family will have financial peace of mind for their flights, accommodations, meals and park tickets. They’ll even have pocket money for roller coaster photographs and other souvenirs.

“I’m astounded at the outpouring of support from people for this cause. It’s amazing to see people who don’t know Heather step up to the plate like this,” Ms. Porter said. “She was just handed some of the worst news a person can ever experience, but now she’s got something to be excited about. This is a true and clear demonstration of how much people in the north country care about each other.”

The GoFundMe website, where most of the money was raised, has been flooded with well-wishes from the many donors telling the Hogeboon family to have a “magical time” in Disney and sending prayers and love for Heathern. Some donors even said Ms. Hogeboon’s story has made them look at their own lives in a new light and taught them to cherish every day.

Last month Ms. Hogeboon received a shocking third cancer diagnosis after an eight-year battle she thought she’d won. The cancer she’d been fighting off since 2006 had metastasized, spreading into her abdomen. Ms. Porter said it was discovered during an augmentation surgery and that the doctors were taken completely off guard. Everyone thought she was cured.

When Ms. Hogeboon voiced her wish for a Disney vacation to Ms. Porter, her friend was determined to make it happen. Through the use of the Internet, Porter was able to collect even more than her original goal of $6,500.

“A huge thank you to Christine Porter, who set all this up. A lifelong school time friend. My neighbor and bus mate. God bless her soul,” Ms. Hogeboon said.

Ms. Porter is already moving forward with booking and purchases. She said the family is scheduled to be in the park for a full week, from June 28 to July 5. It means they’ll be there for many of the extensive Independence Day fireworks demonstrations and the parade the park puts on every year.

Any further donations are welcome as extra spending money for the family to use around the park and can be made at gofundme.com/memories-for-mommy.

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