AUBURN — A local family’s home has been released from foreclosure after nearly $16,000 in donations poured in from former classmates and strangers.

“We still have a little ways to go, but it was very great that they’re willing to work with us,” D’Arcy Ames, 43, said Tuesday. “It was like being able to exhale after holding your breath for a long time. I’m speechless, most incredibly grateful.”

Ames, her fiancé, Gary Couture, and their family have had a tough several years, with Couture and Ames experiencing intense symptoms related to Lyme disease. After Couture, 50, was bitten in August 2012 and became too sick to work, he emptied his retirement savings to cover mortgage payments, expecting he’d recover before funds dried up.

Money ran out in January and the couple faced eviction Monday if they couldn’t work out an agreement with the bank.

Jennifer Spugnardi, a high school classmate from the 1994 class of Saint Dominic Academy, created a GoFundMe campaign to help the family in October. It’s raised more than $10,000.

“I’ve been incredibly moved by every single donation; but when I saw the $2,000 and $3,500 donations Sunday, I almost fell off my chair,” Spugnardi said. “I called D’Arcy both times and excitedly screamed, ‘You have to check your GoFundMe!'”

One of those large donations included the message: ” … my heart just aches for this family. They have been battling for so long and really need some relief.”

The other donation, also made anonymously, was from a former St. Dom’s classmate.

“He’s just the type of person who always tries to make the world a better place,” Spugnardi said. “There are some amazingly generous and caring people out there. I can’t thank everyone who donated enough. I’m convinced now more than ever that there are angels among us.”

A benefit spaghetti supper organized by another classmate at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Auburn will be held this coming Saturday. Ames, Couture and their families and parents will be there.

Ames said in addition to GoFundMe, the family has received direct donations that bring the raised total to nearly $16,000, which was the amount needed to cover the late payments and foreclosure fees.

“They’ve waived the foreclosure at this point, basically, and after those payments clear, they will dismiss the claim,” she said. “I’ve had some people contact me thanking us for talking about the depression aspect (of Lyme disease) because they too had experience with that, just seeing the outpouring from so many people and the rallying, that lifted their spirits.”

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