The following is a press release.
Tara Troy Gambardella was a dynamic young woman who loved helping people, and was passionate about UConn Men's Basketball.
A professional fundraiser for organizations such as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), the 32-year-old Connecticut resident died last October, along with her unborn son, due to complications from heart disease.
Trying to cope with their loss, Tara's family and friends have found a special way to remember her and her contributions to people in need.
On Saturday, Feb. 18, they will celebrate a day of remembrance that includes attending the noon UConn vs. Marquette game at the XL Center in Hartford. After the game, they will host a fundraiser from 3 to 6 p.m. at The Russian Lady, across the street at 191 Ann Uccello St., to benefit a foundation established in Tara's memory.
The public is invited to attend the fundraiser at The Russian Lady. Admission is a donation of $30 or more per person and will include food, a cash bar, and raffle items. Proceeds from the event will go to Hearts and Courage -- the Tara Troy Gambardella Foundation.
"We established this foundation to make a difference in people’s lives just like Tara did -- one individual at a time -- with the motto, 'Others Before Self,'" explains Craig Gambardella, Tara's husband.
"All of the funds raised at the 3 p.m. event will be used to establish a college scholarship for a student who is pursuing a career in the nonprofit world, and for granting wishes to underprivileged children in Connecticut and New York who recently have had heart surgery or a heart condition."
The Foundation also will raise funds to support two of Tara's favorite charities, the JDRF and the Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center at the University of Connecticut Health Center, where Tara had been treated for the past decade.
Tara Troy Gambardella was a fundraiser for non-profit organizations for more than a decade. Raised in New York and New Jersey, she was a 2001 graduate of the University of Hartford and member of the Pi Mu sorority. That same year, Tara was diagnosed with endocarditis, a bacterial infection of the mitral valve. At the age of 21, she underwent the first of two open heart surgeries at the UConn Health Center to replace the valve. After the second valve replacement surgery last March, she began blogging about her experience in the hopes of educating and encouraging others in the same situation. Tara was excited about starting a family and soon became pregnant. There were no signs of any health concern until the fifth month of pregnancy. She died on October 31, 2011.
No advance reservations are required to attend the Feb. 18 fundraiser. For more information about event, contact Craig Gambardella at 203.228.4646. People who cannot attend but want to support the Foundation can make checks payable to Hearts and Courage and mail them to:
Hearts and Courage -- The Tara Troy Gambardella Foundation
P.O Box 343
Stratford CT 06615
In tribute to Tara’s humanity, one of her friends created a website www.ttgactsofkindness.tumblr.com, where people may post their own stories of kindness, as a way of ensuring that her spirit lives on.