An evening of Patriots sightings, signings and auctioned items drew a full house to Thursday, where fans helped Vince Wilfork raise at least $175,000 for diabetes research and prevention.
Accompanied by his wife, Bianca, Wilfork addressed the standing-room crowd, saying he was overwhelmed by the show of support. "Every one of you makes this thing special for me," he said.
The cause of diabetes research and treatment is close to him. Ten years ago, his wife said, his father died of complications from the disease. The money raised from the will go to Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston.
The event sold out several days ago.
"This is amazing," Bianca Wilfork said, looking out over the audience. "This is our biggest crowd."
The crowd included young children, as well as longtime fans. Many traveled from Boston and other locations to see Wilfork up close. The line for his autograph drew several hundred people.