Be Brave for Life launches "Hats for Halley" fundraiser

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MANCHESTER —The Be Brave for Life foundation is continuing its mission to honor everyday heroes battling brain cancer through a new fundraiser -- Hats for Halley.

Hally Montforte is a mother of three, an active community member, and one of this years "Be Brave" award winners. In May Montforte was diagnosed with an anaplastic astrocytoma grade-three brain tumor, which required intensive treatment. While she's received consistent treatment at Southern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington, Montforte hopes to get medical care at New York City's Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in the future.

"I'm grateful to be able to talk to the Sloan doctors because I know [the cancer center is] world renowned. It's kind of a waiting game," Montforte said.

In an effort to defray medical costs and childcare, Laura Callen, Be Brave executive director said she hopes "Hats for Halley" reaches $1000 or more. Currently its raised $170 and will accept donations until Dec. 31.

Three different colored baseball caps, sporting the Be Brave for Life logo, are for sale on the foundation's site for $20 each with $5 shipping. All proceeds benefit the Montforte family.

Montforte graduated from Burr and Burton Academy (BBA) in 2004 and later returned to coach field hockey. Her husband also works at BBA as a wrestling coach and paraeducator.

"The community is amazing," Montforte said. "I've said it over and over again.. I'm indebted to this community for the amazing outpouring of support and love; whether it be financial, or a good hug and a smile in the grocery store. I love this town."

The Callen family, along with several local middle and high school, students volunteer their time as Be Brave For Life ambassadors, babysitting for the Montfortes.

"Halley Monforte epitomizes how positive feelings and thoughts can greatly improve the quality of one's life," Laura Callen said. "It's not possible to put into words how challenging it must be for her and her family to face this life-threatening disease, but they do so each day with a combination of grit and grace."

Montforte met the Callens during a Manchester Street Festival last summer. She said it was nice getting to know another family going through stress similar to what her own family was experiencing.

"It's nice to have someone that's going through this weird struggle," Montforte said. "I always say it's the journey that I never planned on taking. We're on all these roads forking off in different directions."

"Halley and her family have impacted Manchester in so many positive ways," Laura Callen said. "Until her recent diagnosis, Halley has been a daycare provider at Take 5. Her entire life has revolved around her family, friends, and community."

BBA ninth grader Riley Callen launched the Be Brave foundation in 2015 to raise awareness in support of brain cancer research after having three benign brainstem based tumors removed within six years.

After Montforte's diagnosis, resident Barbara Meunch launched a GoFundMe page that attracted 551 donations within six months; reaching $50,125 of the desired $75,000. In July, Sunderland Hill Farm Inn hosted the "Rally for Halley" fundraiser that brought in over 100 of Monteforte's friends, colleagues and community members.

"The Hats for Halley campaign comes out of Be Brave For Life's core belief that as a community we are stronger and can truly change lives for the better," Laura Callen said. "We want to rally our community to help this family in their time of need."

Visit bebrave.life/product/hats4halley/ to support the cause.

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