Soap opera fans across the nation have a series of unique opportunities to connect with their favorite “Days of Our Lives” stars and contribute to a good cause. This year, event coordinator Days Charity Events has planned a series of three meet-and-greet events in major U.S. cities, with proceeds benefiting local chapters of several national and international charities.

The New Hampshire-based group’s first event of 2009 is coming up on April 18 at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Hartford, CT. Confirmed “Days” guests are Matthew Ashford, Darrin Brooks, Bryan Dattilo, Eric Martsolf, James Scott and Arianne Zucker.

Tickets are set at $30 for a question-and-answer session with the stars, $60 for an afternoon meet-and-greet, $110 for an evening cocktail reception, and $175 for a full-day combination ticket to all events. A limited number of fans can also choose to help sponsor the event with a $1,000 lunch with the stars package and a $2,000 all-access package.

Proceeds from the full-day event, which runs from 11 a.m. to midnight, will benefit Retinoblastoma International.

Two additional events will follow later in the year on May 30 as part of the Days Fans Weekend in Los Angeles, CA, and August 22 in Boston, MA. The benefiting charities for the Los Angeles and Boston events are, respectively, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International (JDRF).

Ticket prices, purchasing information and scheduled star appearances for all Days Charity Events vary. More information can be found at the Days Charity Events Web site.

Days Charity Events was co-founded in 2005 by long-time friends Stacey Ouellette and Sean Kemp. The pair decided to combine Ouellette’s passion for “Days of Our Lives” with Kemp’s desire to raise awareness for the New England chapter of JDRF, thus kicking off the inaugural Days Charity Event in Burlington, MA.

Three stars and about 50 fans turned out to the first event in October 2005, but since then, the organization’s impact has grown. Last year’s event in Boston drew eight stars from the hit soap opera series and approximately 300 fans.