Signs support AJ

Signs support AJ

One of many signs supporting AJ Quetta is now up in front of North Providence High School.
Schools holding district-wide fundraiser

NORTH PROVIDENCE – About 20 signs supporting AJ Quetta, purchased through Mayor Charles Lombardi’s holiday gala fund, have been placed around town, including at Town Hall and North Providence High School.

The signs say “North Providence, a community that cares. AJ’s Army. Get well soon.

“We just want them to know that all residents of town are soldiers in AJ’s army for a full recovery,” said Lombardi. “We needed to let this family know that North Providence is a community that cares.”

The mayor told The Breeze his daughter also had the idea to have window signs made for businesses. In addition to the 10 already made, he plans to have another 25 or so available to businesses as of this Thursday, Feb. 18, with business owners able to pick them up at his office.

A senior at Bishop Feehan High School in Attleboro, Mass., the North Providence resident Quetta suffered a severe spinal cord injury during a hockey game on Jan. 26.

In the weeks following his life-changing injury, the local school community has also rallied around 18-year-old AJ Quetta.

The North Providence School Department has planned an event for next week to help support Quetta’s recovery. On Feb. 25-26, all North Providence students and faculty will have the opportunity to participate in a “dress-down” day, and are encouraged to wear green as a tribute to Quetta.

They plan to sell green “AJ’s Army” bracelets at the schools for $5, with proceeds going toward his recovery. Students will also have the chance to make get well cards for Quetta.

Karen Bourke, the North Providence school employee who spearheaded the fundraiser, said her family has watched AJ grow up.

“I knew we had to help support one of our own. This will be a very, very long journey for AJ and his family,” she said.

Members of the wider community can support the cause by purchasing AJ’s Army lawn signs from Formats Printing or buying a T-shirt at livforyou.org/ajsarmy .

Bourke said the North Providence school fundraiser is the first, but not likely to be the last event for Quetta’s family.

“We have ideas for future community events to show our continued support during his recovery,” she said. “We want as many people as possible to be involved.”

Soon, a banner for Quetta will be strung up across Mineral Spring Avenue, and Bourke said larger, community-wide fundraisers are in the works.

Support for Quetta has been immense. A GoFundMe set up for his treatment has garnered nearly $1 million, far surpassing its goal of $10,000.

The Boston Bruins Foundation set up a website, -- , to help provide long-term financial and emotional support to the Quetta family.

The Bruins have pledged a minimum of $100,000 in support, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has pledged an additional $25,000, and the Greg Hill Foundation has raised more than $150,000.

After his injury, which occurred during a hockey game in Springfield, Mass., Quetta was transported from Baystate Health in Springfield to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where he underwent surgery.

On Feb. 12, AJ’s family provided an update on his condition, announcing that he was being transferred this week to the Shepherd General Hospital in Atlanta.

“The care he has received at Massachusetts General Hospital has been world-class. The doctors, nurses and staff have been outstanding. It’s now time for the next step in his rehab process,” the statement reads.

Quetta will spend at least three months at Shepherd, which specializes in the treatment of spinal cord injuries.

“We would like to thank everyone for their continued support and prayers for our son,” said AJ’s father, Anthony Quetta Sr. “Words can’t express our steadfast appreciation to all the donors during this time. This would not be possible without all the support we have received.”

He continued, “AJ realizes how awesome and incredible the support has been. He is determined to beat the odds and return to his family and friends. He is very motivated.”