When a young mom lost her life shortly after delivering her third son, her family were of course distraught. However, the overwhelming support they received managed to keep them afloat. Consolations came from friends and strangers alike. And then a TV star made the kindest of gestures.
Sara Porter lived with her husband Dominic Gillette in the neighborhood of Carroll Gardens in Brooklyn, New York. And at the beginning of 2017, they were the picture of happiness. They were parents to four-year-old Mateo, two-year-old Luca and had a third child on the way.
In March 2017, Porter and Gillette welcomed a third boy, who they named Jonas. However, what should have been one of the happiest times of their lives was shattered. That’s because during delivery, Porter developed a rare bacterial infection.
Sadly, just five days later, the illness took the young mom’s life. Naturally, her death left Gillette and their sons completely bereft. As a result, family and friends rallied round the foursome to help in any way they could.
Postpartum infections account for 8 percent of all deaths following childbirth. Other common causes of death include postpartum bleeding, obstructed labors and blood clots. However, while there are still some risks giving birth, maternal deaths are on the decline.
After the tragedy, friends of the family Billy and Holly Cislo-Livermore decided to set up a crowdfunding page. Any money raised would help Gillette cope with the costs of raising his family singlehandedly. Furthermore, the Livermores thought the page would be a nice place for others to share their memories of Porter.
“Sara was an amazing wife and mother who dedicated her life to her family, raising the boys, and providing them with a loving home,” they wrote on the GoFundMe page. “This is an incomprehensible, unexpected loss for Dominic and the boys and to everybody who knew her and loved her. Sara’s kindness was known the moment you met her and her beautiful smile will stay with us always.”
“This fund is for the ‘Gillette Boys’ – a term Sara lovingly used,” the emotional appeal read. “Sara will always be the love of Dominic’s life and he will do everything to continue without her but he needs all of us to be there for him. This fund is being set up to help him handle the costs associated with this sudden loss and for providing for Mateo, Luca, & Jonas’ future.”
The Livermores hoped to raise $20,000 to support Gillette. “Dominic will need all our help and support in the months and years to come,” they wrote. “All donations go directly to Dominic and the boys.”
Soon enough, the donations began flooding in from friends and strangers alike. Then something heartwarming happened. Thanks to just two donations, the crowdfunding campaign in Porter’s memory surpassed its $20,000 target in less than a single day.
It seemed Porter had touched many lives in her short time on Earth. She had in fact enjoyed a successful career as a television producer. Some of the shows she’d worked on included Down Home with the Neelys and Big Daddy’s House, for example.
Furthermore, Porter had also worked on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. The popular talk show ran from 1993 to 2009, clocking up 2,725 episodes in the process. When O’Brien’s tenure came to an end, Jimmy Fallon replaced him as host.
Since then, O’Brien has hosted his show Conan on TBS. However, despite being one of the busiest people on television, when he found out about Porter’s death he had to do something. So he generously donated $10,000 to her crowdfunding page.
Furthermore, the Late Night show also donated a sum of $10,100. In fact, they weren’t the only donations from the showbiz world. A company called One Foot Productions donated a further $1,000, while a former colleague Porter had helped secure work added another $100 to the pot.
By late March, more than 1,000 people had donated an astonishing $172,500 to help Gillette and his sons. Furthermore, many of them sent their thoughts and prayers to the family. And many shared their personal memories of Porter.
“I have known Sara Porter since she was a little girl,” one donator wrote. “What a beautiful woman inside and outside. My heart is broken over the loss of her. My thoughts and prayers are with the Porter family who I known for almost 55 years. Words can’t express my sadness.”
The outpouring of love touched all of Sara’s close friends and family. “They are blown away by the generosity of everyone who has participated in this effort to date,” the Livermores wrote on the GoFundMe page. “Support has come from every facet of their lives – colleagues and friends from work, neighbors, family, college friends, and even strangers who have just heard the story of their tragedy.”
“For all of you who knew Sara and were touched by her, you know that this campaign truly reflects the love and kindness that was her very essence,” they added. “Thank you to everyone who has contributed and shared this campaign. I know in the days to come Dominic will reach out to you himself.”
Meanwhile, Porter’s mom, Judi, visited the page to thank everyone who’d donated or sent their condolences. “Our beautiful daughter… so sweet always that smile. Our lives will never be the same,” she wrote. “Thank you, everyone, my sweet girl touched so many lives.”
So, while nothing will ever fill the gaping hole in the Gillettes’ lives, hopefully they can take comfort in Porter’s legacy. From the response to her crowdfunding page, it’s clear to see she had an enormous impact on everyone she met. Her memory will live on in the hearts of all those she touched.