hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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May 8, 2014

The week's news in review

Girl, 9, sets goal to help fellow hospital patients

Until last fall, 9-year-old Noelle Gregoire was not allowed to swim, ride a bike or participate in other activities that most kids enjoy.

She was diagnosed at age 5 with a rare congenital spine condition that resulted in her having to wear a rigid brace around the clock and avoid activities that could cause paralysis if she were to fall.

Things will be different this summer when she attempts to swim a mile across Province Lake in East Wakefield, N.H.

Noelle, a third-grader at Silver Hill Horace Mann Charter School, said she is taking on this challenge as a way to do some good for other children who, like her, receive treatments at Tufts Floating Hospital for Children in Boston.

“Now that I can swim, I want to do something great,” Noelle said about her “Laps for Backs” money-raising effort.

— Mike LaBella

KidsFEST moves to Kimball Farm

A popular local tradition is about to undergo a major change.

But organizers of this year’s KidsFEST said that by moving the event out of the downtown to a local farm, they can offer different activities than in past versions of the family festival, while bringing people of all ages closer to nature.

KidsFEST is moving to Kimball Farm, located in a rural and pastoral area at the eastern part of the city.

Children and families are encouraged to attend this event, which traditionally draws thousands of people.

The Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce Downtown Haverhill Committee, working with Trinity EMS., Merrimack Valley Hospital and Holy Family Hospital, will present KidsFEST on May 18 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Kimball Farm, 791 East Broadway.

Admission is free, however, a fee of $2 per car to park at the farm will defray staffing costs, while additional parking proceeds will be donated to a local charity, organizers said.

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