AJ’s Army continues to grow; fundraiser May 1

AJ’s Army continues to grow; fundraiser May 1

NORTH PROVIDENCE – Months after North Providence teenager AJ Quetta suffered a severe spinal injury during a high school hockey game, the community has continued to rally around him.

North Providence school employee and friend of the Quetta family, Karen Bourke, says members of the community have raised more than $15,000 toward AJ’s recovery, bringing the total funds raised for Quetta to close to $1 million.

“We’re trying. They need it. The care he’s going to need is not cheap. It can cost millions of dollars, and this type of injury comes with lifelong costs,” she said.

There’s a fundraiser in the works for May 1 from 4 to 10 p.m. at The Duke in North Providence, featuring food and drinks, a mechanical bull, live entertainment and raffle prizes. The rain date is May 8.

“It’s going to be really big,” Bourke said. Twenty percent of proceeds will go toward Quetta’s recovery.

In a few weeks, Bourke also plans to sell “AJ’s Army” merchandise at North Providence High School’s spring craft vendor event.

She said she’s also hoping to continue the momentum by planning additional fundraising events this spring and summer, including golf tournaments.

North Providence schools raised close to $8,000 last month, coupled with thousands brought in by fundraisers at Tumblesalts Cafe and Providence’s Revival Brewing Co. Lawn signs, available for purchase at Format Printing, have also brought in thousands of dollars for Quetta’s recovery.

Right now, Bourke said Quetta is focused on his breathing, and is working to transition off the ventilator.

“That will be huge for him,” she said.

Quetta suffered a severe spinal cord injury while playing hockey for Bishop Feehan High School on Jan. 26. In February, he was transferred to a rehabilitation hospital in Atlanta.

Quetta’s father, Anthony Sr., posted an update on his son’s condition last week, noting that “things are really starting to move in the right direction” for his son.

Anthony said AJ is gearing up for the next phase of his journey after being accepted into The Miami Project, where he will receive experimental treatments and undergo trials to regain function in his spinal cord.

“AJ’s journey will be long and tenuous and your generosity and support will allow AJ to reach his goals and the dream of skating again. AJ and the Quetta family are humbled by the support of our family, our community and our hockey family,” he said. “It has been the worst of times, and thanks to you all, the most blessed of times. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts and we know we cannot do it alone.”

For updates on AJ’s condition and future fundraisers, including The Duke’s upcoming event, find AJ’s Army on Facebook.