Bar holds benefit for Wilmington fire victim

Reported by Claire Simms - bio|email
Posted by Lauren Thomson - email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Friends of two Wilmington fire victims organized a fundraiser downtown to help one of the victims pay for his extensive recovery.

Cory Benoit has been in the burn unit at Chapel Hill since January 2nd when he was injured in a fire at Cypress Pointe Apartments in Wilmington.

Benoit has lost more than most of us can imagine, but he should know he still has a lot of friends and they're doing everything they can to help him get better.

"He lost his mother right at Christmas time and then, on top of it, he loses everything in this fire and the person that he really loved," says Brooke Laforest, a friend of Benoit's. "He has no insurance, no anything. It's gone. Everything's gone."

Benoit's girlfriend, Rory Michaelson, did not survive the fire.

The recent UNCW graduate was scheduled to start teaching special ed this week.

Now, friends and even strangers are trying to help Benoit recover by donating to a fundraiser at The Cellar in downtown Wilmington.

"Why not give back to the community, especially someone who is in the service industry, who is uninsured," says Justin Harris, who works at The Cellar. "So, we're definitely going to try to make sure to raise money and give local support where it's needed."

Friends say Benoit's recovery is slow, but helping him focus on his health, instead of his hospital bills, is what they hope will make the difference.

"All of us -- we're just worried about him, you know, especially when you get to know someone and spend time with them. It's just, it's very hard. It's a work in process, he's doing better though," says Laforest.

Bit by bit, dollar by dollar, friends are helping Cory Benoit rebuild his life after a tragedy that could have taken it.

Benoit's friends will continue to accept donations at any T.G.I.Friday's location.

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