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Breathe for Britt forges on with Sunday event after founder's death

The Breathe for Britt Foundation was created in

The Breathe for Britt Foundation was created in honor of Brittany Braun, 14, who died April 3, 2008 from cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening chronic lung disease. This is a picture take of Braun in 2007. (Credit: Handout)

One of Brittany Braun’s fears was to die alone in a hospital after being diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at an early age.

But she didn’t have to. On April 3, 2008 Braun died peacefully in her sleep at age 14 with her godfather Brian Kane by her side.

To carry on Brittany’s memory, Kane joined Laura Bence, 25, who met the 14-year-old while volunteering at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital in 2006, to create the Breathe for Britt Foundation, a nonprofit to benefit Long Island families affected by cystic fibrosis.


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The foundation’s fourth annual Breathe for Britt Bandstand will honor the life of Kane, the foundation’s founder, who died in February 2012 at age 55. The event, featuring local musicians, food, raffles, prizes and face-painting, is Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. at 89 North Music Venue in Patchogue. Admission is $15, and children under 12 get in free.

School of Rock in Port Jefferson will also be performing, along with local bands. One hundred people attended last year’s event, raising $2,000.

“After Brian passed away, I knew I needed to continue this, so I put my emotions into something positive and meaningful,” said Bence, co-founder and chair of the Breathe for Britt Foundation. “The money raised goes towards providing financial security to families waiting for a cure."

Bence remembers Brittany as “a tiny thing that could eat for days.”

“When I would visit her at Cohen Children’s Hospital we would plan our meals for the day as soon as I got there,” Bence said. “At 10 a.m., she wanted to order Chinese food.”

What Bence loved most about Brittany was that if she loved, you she’d show it.

“If you were one of her people, you knew it,” said Bence. “She’d let you know. She let the people in her life always know they were important to her, so this is how we show her that she’s still important to us.”

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