BOLTON - Sitting in a wheelchair Saturday at a table in the Bolton Conservation Club, Carol Shaw looked around at the dozens of people who turned out to raise money for her so she wouldn't lose her house due to overdue taxes.
Battling cancer and undergoing radiation treatments, she's recently been spending money to keep herself alive rather than on less crucial expenses.
Shaw smiled as she looked at friends, acquaintances, and others she wasn't familiar with, but who were Boltonians attending the community dinner to help a local citizen in a time of need.
A week ago, Shaw was unable to talk because of her radiation treatments. But Saturday, her voice clearly conveyed her thoughts.
"I just can't say enough about this," Shaw said about the 75 or so attending. "I'm just overwhelmed."
Bolton Supervisor Kathleen Simmes and resident Susan Wilson and other members of the local Health Committee organized the event after they found out about Shaw's plight.
Simmes found out about Shaw's financial squeeze when she accompanied her daughter, Lori Simmes, to Glens Falls Hospital's Cancer Center for Lori's radiation treatments for brain cancer.
Present at Saturday's fundraiser, Lori Simmes said the benefits of the event went far beyond the money raised.
"When you go through cancer treatments, something like this does absolutely everything for you - it keeps spirits up, letting you know everyone is there for you," she said. "It has incredible benefits not only financially, but spiritually."
Shaw's granddaughter Teesha confirmed that the smile on Carol Shaw's face showed her spirits had been lifted a lot.
"It's really nice people turned out like this," Teesha said, looking at the crowd. "My Grandma is a sweet and loving lady."
Karen Azer was one of the local residents who turned out.
"It's a great thing to have a community get together and support someone like this," Azer said.
Former Bolton Supervisor Zandy Gabriels looked at the crowd who ate a wide variety of creative dishes prepared and shared by the attendees.
"This is what a small town is all about - helping someone when they have a problem," he said. "The people who organized it are good-hearted people - This makes me proud to be a Boltonian."
Event organizer Kathleen Simmes echoed the point in fewer words.
"This is just awesome," she said.
A substantial portion of the money raised came from money bid on items and services donated by area businesses for a silent auction held at Saturday's dinner. Bolton resident Dale Erhardt had canvassed a lot of the local businesses for the donations. The remainder came from individual donations by Boltonians.
Shaw has been in a financial crunch because she worked for years for the Adirondack Mountain Club, and she had no health insurance program. Now, she must rely on Medicaid reimbursement to offset most, but not all of the medical expenses.
Monday, Wilson said the event had raised $5,060, and people still seeking to donate can deposit donations at any TD Banknorth, payable to the Carol Shaw Fund, or send checks to Simmes at the Bolton Town Hall.
"People's generosity has saved Carol's home from back taxes, and there's enough for Carol to have a little towards her heating bills this winter."