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GROTON — Despite personal hardship and the work involved, a local woman has decided to tackle a fundraiser to help those with multiple sclerosis, a disease that affects the central nervous system and for which a cure has yet to be found.

Riverbend Drive resident Donna Picariello met such success with a fundraiser held last year at the Indian Hill Music Center in Littleton, where she raised $2,000 for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Massachusetts, that she decided to hold another one this year.

“We had a very successful fundraiser last year with only 30 seats shy of a full house of 160,” said Picariello of the Indian Hill venue.

More immediately, Picariello was inspired to proceed with this year’s fundraiser by a letter of thanks she received from a person who directly benefited from the money raised at the Indian Hill event.

This year, Picariello has chosen to move the site of her fundraiser closer to home but is offering the same variety of live music and good food.

“The fundraiser will have a new venue this year,” said Picariello. “It will take place at the First Parish Church vestry in Groton (Sept. 25, noon to 4 p.m.), which is located on Powderhouse Road directly off Route 119. Like last year, the event will have music, but also a silent auction which will feature some very good items — not least of which will be a signed autograph photo of Red Sox second baseman, Dustin Pedroia.

“My sister told me that I had to think outside the box,” said Picariello of how she ended up with Pedroia’s autographed photo. “I was just going to places where I do business and asking for donations, but my sister suggested that I try sports teams like the Red Sox, Patriots, or Celtics. So I said ‘All right. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.’ So I called the Red Sox and was shocked when they answered phone. They made it so easy.”

Picariello said she hoped to have similarly signed photos from Celtics and Patriots players.

“It’s difficult coping with MS, but I just do,” said Picariello of her 34 years since being diagnosed with the disease. “I have three children in college and a husband with lung cancer so I don’t have time to be sick right now. I don’t want to be sick so that for as long as I can do the benefit, I’ll do it. Every year I tell myself that I won’t do anything like go on a walk-a-thon or fundraise, but the need is bigger than I am. Holding the fundraiser is a big job for one person to do, but I end up doing it anyway because I want to help. My attitude is that I go into it expecting nothing so whatever I raise is humbly appreciated.

“I’m optimistic,” insisted Picariello, who lost the use of her legs and, over the last year, her left hand as well. “I live for today. People keep saying that maybe they’ll find a cure tomorrow. Well, 34 years later, they’re still not close to finding one. You can’t count on a cure being found, but you do have to go on with daily living… I have the same obligations as anybody else. I’m a parent who has to make a living.”

Any questions about the upcoming benefit can be made to Picariello by calling 978-448-4008.

For the full story, please see this week’s Nashoba weeklies.