When it comes to helping former Town Councilor JoAnn Cathcart, the citizens of North Attleborough went out of their way to show support for their friend.
A fundraiser held in November raised $50,520 for Cathcart, who suffered a spinal cord injury in July after a fall. The fundraiser, titled Giving from the Heart, was put together by the Downtown Associates of North Attleborough (DANA). All the proceeds went towards care for Cathcart—specifically for intensive therapy, nursing care, and physical accommodations.
Maureen Merigold, the president of DANA, said those who donated went “over the top,” and donations were sent in even before the event began in November.
“DANA and the JoAnn Cathcart family want to thank everyone that donated, attended, helped, or donated in any way to make this such a great success,” Merigold said. “This was a true example of what North Attleboro is all about: sharing, caring, and stepping up.”
Cathcart, who grew up in North Attleborough, served as a member of the Representative Town Meeting as part of the Commission on Disabilities, acted as both assistant to the town administrator and as interim town administrator, and was the town’s ADA Coordinator. She worked with the police department for years and has served on the board of directors for North TV along with the Finance Committee. In 2019, she, along with eight other individuals was elected as North Attleborough’s first Town Council.
In 2021, she won another term, but due to her accident, Cathcart resigned in 2022. Dan Donovan, a candidate who came in 10th during the 2021 election, became Cathcart’s successor and currently sits on the Town Council.
The event was a celebration of Cathcart’s service, with different North Attleborough businesses helping set up the fundraiser.
“We want to thank the Masonic Lodge for the venue, Mackie’s Family Restaurant for the food, Carl Borgen the DJ, and the North Star Reporter for their full-page ads,” Maureen said. “The Laughing Shield Comic Book, Ashworth Awards and DANA for the lifetime Community Hero award, the NAHS class of 1966, The Industrial Park’s generous donation, and every single person who donated with a “Giving Heart.”
In addition to this fundraiser, Cathcart and her family were honored in the North Attleborough Christmas Parade.
Every year, a Grand Marshall is selected by the DANA executive board to lead the parade. Former Town Councilor Joan Cathcart was chosen as this year’s marshal with overwhelming support, according to Merigold.
While Cathcart could not be at the parade, her family marched in her honor. Those who marched included her husband Richard Cathcart, daughter Laura Fontaine with her husband and children, and her sister Patti Porier.