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Donations to help woman battling cancer stolen in burglary at Serendipity Day Spa in Pembroke

Jaime Taylor-Harper, who's battling brain cancer, is a longtime employee at Serendipity Day Spa in Pembroke. Her coworkers were collecting donated items from area businesses for a fundraiser to help her with medical costs, but the items were taken in a burglary to the spa sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning. The fundraiser is expected to go on as planned on Sept. 8.  <br/><br/>Courtesy photo

Jaime Taylor-Harper, who's battling brain cancer, is a longtime employee at Serendipity Day Spa in Pembroke. Her coworkers were collecting donated items from area businesses for a fundraiser to help her with medical costs, but the items were taken in a burglary to the spa sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning. The fundraiser is expected to go on as planned on Sept. 8.

Courtesy photo

Cash, a laptop computer and a safe were among the valuables missing this weekend after a nighttime burglary at Serendipity Day Spa in Pembroke.

But for owner Holly Rodrigues, those weren’t the worst losses. The safe held gift certificates, Red Sox tickets and other items donated by area businesses and individuals for a fundraiser to help a longtime spa employee who’s battling brain cancer, and they were stolen, too.

“That was the part that hurt the most. Here’s something we’re trying to do for someone who’s so special and so wonderful. . . . It tests your faith a little bit,” Rodrigues said. “But there’s so many good people out there that we have to focus on the positive and not the negative, and know the good will outweigh the bad.”

Serendipity Day Spa has been in business for a decade and has more than 30 employees. It moved to its current location at 23 Sheep Davis Road eight years ago, and Rodrigues said they haven’t had any problems there, save one car break-in.

She said employees locked up Friday evening, and when they arrived Saturday morning they saw the back door had been busted open. A cash drawer, a laptop and the safe in her office were missing, she said, estimating the stolen items and damage at between $6,000 and $10,000.

Earlier this month, the Pembroke Police Department reported on its Facebook page there had been a string of nighttime burglaries at stores in town. The police asked for any tips to be directed to the department or to the Concord Regional Crimeline (226-3100).

The department didn’t return a message yesterday seeking information about the break-in at Serendipity Day Spa.

“As of right now, they maybe have a few ideas, but nothing solid that we know of,” Rodrigues said yesterday.

Insurance will cover the business’s losses, she said, but not the stolen donations. Worse, she said, there hadn’t been a chance to inventory all the items, so she doesn’t have a complete list of who gave what and what was taken.

The items were to be auctioned off Sept. 8 at “Kick Jaime’s Tumor,” a fundraiser for Jaime Taylor-Harper, who was diagnosed this spring with a brain tumor.

A massage therapist from Derry, Taylor-Harper is a longtime spa employee, a talented singer and “just an amazing person who’s touched so many people,” Rodrigues said, and now is undergoing a second round of chemotherapy.

Proceeds from the fundraiser, she said, will help defray Taylor-Harper’s medical expenses and other bills. And, she said, this weekend’s break-in won’t stop it from happening.

“She’s a total fighter, and there’s no reason we’re not going to go on with it,” Rodrigues said.

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and we have the will. We’re going to make it work.”

Tickets for the fundraiser, which will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. at the McIntyre Ski Area lodge in Manchester, are $25 each and available through the spa by calling 229-0400.

Rodrigues said the spa reopened Saturday, after the police were done and the scene had been cleaned up. It will be open for business as usual today.

(Ben Leubsdorf can be reached at 369-3307 or
bleubsdorf@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @BenLeubsdorf.)

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