Since its founding in 2004, Al's Angels, a Westport based nonprofit organization, has been dedicated to helping families that have been affected by childhood cancer, rare-blood diseases, AIDS and domestic violence. For the last three years, the founder of Al's Angels, Al DiGuido, has hosted a fundraiser for his organization called Angels in July, which is set to take place on July 7 at the Saugatuck Rowing Club, in Westport.

DiGuido, former executive vice president of Ziff Davis and CEO and founder of Zeta Interactive, started this organization after attending an event many years ago that was geared towards raising childhood cancer awareness. After seeing the faces of the heartbroken parents who had seriously ill children and had been financially devastated by their child's illness, DiGuido was deeply moved.

"I kept thinking, `What if it was me?'" DiGuido said. "These children didn't do anything to get these diseases."

As a father himself, he felt compelled to help in any way he could. In 2004 he founded Al's Angels, with the purpose of providing meals and presents during the holiday seasons to families afflicted by life threatening diseases and domestic violence. They are particularly busy during the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

"Last holiday season Al's Angels provided over 2,000 meals to families in the tri-state area," DiGuido said.

Of all the families his foundation has helped over the years, one particular story comes to mind. Last year he received a picture of a boy who had just undergone a bone marrow transplant. While recovering in the hospital on Christmas, the boy was visited by Santa Claus, courtesy of Al's Angels. The boy's mother wrote to tell DiGuido how much her son appreciated the gesture.

For the past three years, Al's Angels has hosted Angels in July so that more stories like this one can happen. Event ticket prices are $75 per person. Guests can enjoy live entertainment, food and drinks from some of the best restaurants in the area, wine-tastings, and a raw bar, while knowing that all the proceeds of this event are going straight to the families who need it the most.

One of the mainstays of Angels in July is the lighting of the Saugatuck Bridge, which Al's Angels renamed the Bridge of Hope, in honor of the families they help. There will also be a silent auction featuring items from local restaurants, jewelry, sports memorabilia, a private wine tasting as well as other items.

Last year, the event raised more than $40,000 for Al's Angels. Donations, including gift cards, cash or gifts for both the organization and the silent auction are welcome and those who donate will be mentioned in the event materials and holiday mailings.

The event takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. The Saugatuck Rowing Club is located at 521 Riverside Ave. in Westport. Donations and items can be sent to Al's Angels at 342 Greens Farms Road, Westport, CT, 06880, through their e-mail at, or on their website at