Illness Causes Real Housewife Jacqueline Laurita to Miss Fundraiser
Reality star unable to attend a shopping benefit for Cedar Grove resident Frank Napolitano, who is battling several forms of cancer.
Although New Jersey Housewife Jacqueline Laurita couldn't make it to Victor's Chateau Wednesday night, organizers for a fundraiser for cancer patient Frank Napolitano, said the evening was a success.
Laurita, of NJ Housewives fame, was expected to be the guest of honor at the shopping fundraiser held at Victor’s Chateau in Little Falls.
But she called out sick.
Starstruck residents arrived anticipating the appearance of a reality TV star for a charity fundraiser.
As the event started, however, word quickly spread Bravo TVs Real Housewives of New Jersey star Jacqueline Laurita had fallen ill and would not be attending the shopping event to raise money for resident Frank Napolitano.
This was the third fundraiser for Napolitano, who is battling various forms of cancer. This is the first event organized by Sassy Shop Girl.
Event organizer Edel Di Gangi said she received an apologetic email from Laurita Wednesday evening saying she would not be attending because she came down with an illness after caring for her children, who had been sick the past two days.
“Jacqueline is very loyal, very kind and very true,” said Di Gangi. “She is very supportive and has attended our charities in the past.”
“I know that if she says she's sick, then she's sick,” she added.
While attendees were disappointed they would meet Laurita, they were excited by the vast choices of merchandise.
The event featured unique items from 40 vendors showcasing exclusive fashion accessories. Di Gangi's sister, Martha Fava, displayed items from her Sassy Shop Girl online store as well as from her new store, Runway, in Caldwell.
Penny Lombardi of Roseland has attended the Sassy Shop Girl events for the past three years.
“I love the different kinds of unique items and I love, love, love shopping,” she said, adding that she has met Laurita at a shopping event in the past. “I'm disappointed but I understand why she can't be here.”
“I just love to be able to shop for a good cause,” she continued.
At the beginning of the night Di Gangi said she hoped to draw in 400 people and raise around $1,500.
“Its a great thing,” she said. “Whether it’s a little or a lot, it’s great to be able to help the Napolitano family.
Different shoppers echoed her sentiments as they left the event.
“It was a great event, a lot of people showed up and it’s for a good cause,” said Dolores Catania of Franklin Lakes.
Napolitano, who has Stage 4 cancer, was sick and did not attend the fundraiser, but his wife, Julie, said the fundraisers were “overwhelming.”
“My friends and family are here,” Julie Napolitano said, “Words can’t express how thankful we are. My husband wishes he could be here.”