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A shopper browses the fireworks selection at TNT Fireworks in Williston. The store, owned by Terry Gaudreau, is raising money for Bras for a Cause.

Terry Gaudreau has been selling fireworks in Williston for nearly 40 years, but this year's sales take on special significance for him.

"I don't normally do this," he said, wiping tears from his eyes.

Gaudreau, owner of TNT fireworks in Williston, has partnered with local non-profit group Bras for a Cause for a unique fundraising opportunity. Gaudreau, whose brother is currently battling cancer, was presented a check from Bras for a Cause to help with costs associated with his brother's treatment. The move prompted him to get involved and help give back.

"They (Bras for a Cause) came over and gave me a check one day," he said, holding back tears, "So then I thought 'Well hell, if they're gonna do that, let's raise a bunch of money for them.' So ultimately that's what I'm trying to do."

As Gaudreau explained to customers coming in, the first 150 donating $100 to Bras for a Cause would get a $100 package of artillery shells, courtesy of TNT.  
"We dedicated 150 artillery packs, and we'll probably burn through all of those by Friday." he said. "And that's good. That's what we want."

Along with that incentive, Gaudreau purchased special items specifically for this promotion. The two artillery packs, called "Kicking Butts" and "Taking Names," are being sold with all proceeds going to Bras for a Cause and the Cancer Coalition, another local non-profit.

"It's kinda symbolic of what they do," he said.

Gaudreau said he anticipates raising at least $20,000, but hopes that he can push that number even higher, possibly $40,000 or more.

According to Cheryl Donoven, president of Bras for a Cause, the money raised will stay within the community and be used in a variety of ways, from helping with travel costs and meals, to paying deductibles for hospital visits and medication.

Speaking about the organization and its impact on not only his brother's life, both others around the community, Gaudreau was visibly moved and continued to fight to hold back tears.

"It can get expensive, with hotel rooms and food and the rest of it. For families that can't afford it, it can be really hard," he said, choking up. "And when someone comes along like that and helps out, that's really cool."

Gaudreau says the response he's gotten has been overwhelmingly positive, with donations even coming in from out of state. Before he had even opened for business, Gaudreau said he was approached by a local resident interested in helping out.

"He came to me, even before we had opened up, and he gives me this check for 500 bucks," he said. "He didn't want any fireworks. He just liked the idea that we were doing it and wanted to give."

Set up at a Bras for a Cause booth next to TNT, Donoven applauded Gaudreau for his generosity, and was excited at the response she had been receiving from the community. In the hour she had been set up, Donoven had already received about $1,000 in donations.

"Everybody knows someone whose had cancer," she said. "We have a great community. And all it took was someone to get the ball rolling, and once the ball was rolling, people came out and wanted to get involved."

Bras for a Cause will have their annual charity auction on the fall, and Donoven said they are always looking for volunteers to help out. Anyone interested can contact Bras for a Cause via their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/brascause/.

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