Barrington family shares heartfelt celebration

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The Bonneau family had reason to celebrate late last month, and celebrate they did as dozens of children and adults stopped by to mark the second-year anniversary of 11-year-old Ryan Bonneau’s second open-heart surgery.

Ryan underwent his first life-saving surgery when he was a baby, and his parents, Mark and Sara were told that he would need a second surgery at a later time. That event came on July 28, 2011.

A year after the second surgery, Ryan approached his parents and asked if he could have a party to celebrate the anniversary. They jumped at the idea. This year, the small gathering grew to a big party, as dozens of Ryan’s friends, and friends of his brothers, Nick and Sean, arrived at the Bonneau’s for a late July bash.

The family used the big turnout as a fund-raiser of sorts — they incorporated a free throw contest, and people attending the event offered varying donations. More than $500 went to Children’s Hospital in Boston and the “Mended Little Hearts” organization, which supports families in similar situations.

The generous outpouring at the free throw shoot-out party was not surprising to the Bonneaus.

“The people in this town have been amazing,” Mrs. Bonneau said. “We moved here (to Barrington) in 2003 and we didn’t know many people.”

But over the years the local family came to meet other families, mostly through their sons’ participation in youth sports. When Ryan underwent his second surgery in 2011, teammates, coaches, friends’ parents and some complete strangers helped the Bonneaus in a myriad of ways. Many would make dinners for the local family and drop them off at their house.

“That’s the great part about Barrington. A lot of people helped us out,” Mr. Bonneau said.

Mrs. Bonneau said she began asking people to stay and help them eat the casseroles and lasagnas. “There was too much food,” she said.

“We’re so lucky. We live in a great town, with great people.”

Ryan said he had a great time at the party — the highlight being the moment his friend Sam Tannous asked him to mash a cupcake in his face.

“That was great,” Ryan said, pointing to a picture of Sam covered in frosting.

Ryan said the day of the party was just about perfect. Earlier in the day, Ryan scored three goals — including the game-winner — as his U12 travel soccer team won a tournament at the University of Rhode Island.

Big shots

So who won the Bonneau’s fund-raising free-throw contest? The title was split by four local boys — Deven Connors, Brendan Conaty, Michael Pfeffer and Sean Bonneau.

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