Charity, Organized After Brutal Haverhill Stabbing, Plans Fundraiser for the Suddenly Blind

File photograph. (Image licensed by Ingram Image.)

Second Chance for Sight Foundation, organized in the aftermath of a horrific attack two years that left a Haverhill woman blind, plans a fundraiser next month to help all who are suddenly blinded.

Second Chance for Sight was formed by Zachary Sindoni, whose mother-in-law was one of the attack victims. He told Haverhill city councilors Tuesday night that he learned agencies for the blind tend to focus on persons blind from birth or slowly losing their sight and not so much on those who are blinded overnight due to trauma. He said he hopes his organization can help fill in that gap. He explained the circumstances that led to the formation of his group.

“My wife, Geena Sindoni, and my mother-in-law Janet Blanchard were viciously attacked here in Haverhill two years ago. Geena sustained a couple of injuries herself, but my mother-in-law, sadly, lost her vision in both of her eyes. So, she is completely blinded by the attack,” he said.

As WHAV has reported, then-23-year-old Jake T. Kavanaugh was charged with running down two of his neighbors twice with his car and brutally stabbing one of the women. Police said he allegedly ran down the then-54-year-old Blanchard and her 26-year-old pregnant daughter, Sindoni, who were walking dogs near the Salem, N.H., border. According to police reports, Kavanaugh turned around and struck them again. Salem Police Officer Michael A. Cummings was first on the scene and reported he saw Kavanaugh on top of the unconscious Blanchard, “clenching” her and a box cutter in the woman’s “carotid artery portion of her neck.”

Kavanaugh, who was originally charged with armed assault to murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, mayhem and negligent operation of a motor vehicle, was later indicted by a grand jury. The case has not yet gone to trial.

Sindoni said Second Chance for Sight Foundation’s mission is to empower individuals and families impacted by visual impairments caused by trauma and to help them access needed resources and programs.

The fundraiser takes place Saturday, May 6, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., at Wicked Axe, 721 S. Main Street in Haverhill, and will include a cornhole tournament and an axe-throwing competition. To enter or for more information, visit

In other action, the City Council, as expected, gave unanimous approval to accepting a conservation restriction on 53.8 acres of land on Crystal Street, known as “Meserve Woods”. The action provides permanent open space, protects the city’s water supply and provides for passive recreation.

Councilors also gave unanimous approval to the appointment of former City Councilor Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien to the city’s Board of Registrars of Voters.

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