The students at Arlington Elementary School recently welcomed Linda Lynch, Director of Development and Outreach for The Matty Fund, and Caitlin Floskis, Director of Events for the fund, to their school. Decked out in their "Matty Hatty" hats, the student body listened as Lynch spoke to them about The Matty Fund and all it does for children with epilepsy and their families.
According to Principal Michelle David, the event culminated a three-day fundraiser in honor of National Epilepsy Month.
"You have been working very hard learning about epilepsy," David said when she spoke to the students, prior to introducing Lynch and Floskis.
She congratulated the students on the two days of dancing that the students took part in as part of the special events surrounding the fundraiser. Several students volunteered to show off their dancing skills during the assembly.
The founders of The Matty Fund, Debra and Richard Siravo, of Wakefield, started the fund in honor of their son, Matty, who died in 2003 after a lengthy seizure following brain surgery. Their story is told on their website, www.mattyfund.org.
Arlington School's Matty Hatty Day was held to benefit the fund, which recently received the "2012 Health Heroes" award from WebMD. It is the first time that Arlington Elementary School participated in an event for The Matty Fund, and both Lynch and Floskis hope that it is not the last.
The Siravos wrote a book entitled "My Friend Matty: A Story About Living With Epilepsy," which was read to the students during their fundraising days at school. According to the website, the book is "an uplifting story about a proud, young boy who shares his medical condition with friends, classmates and his teacher. The book is informative and a helpful resource for families and teachers."
Lynch, along with those at The Matty Fund, believes that early education is crucial.
"Young children need to be educated about this disease and we need to let them know that there's a large spectrum of people with this disease. They may know someone who has epilepsy. There are a lot of different diseases, everyone could have something, whether it's diabetes or cancer, and epilepsy is one of those things," said Lynch.
She thanked the students for being open to learning more about epilepsy and being open to talking about it.
It was important to Lynch that the staff and students at Arlington know what types of resources and events The Matty Fund provides for the families it supports. Those resources include programs and services for the children with epilepsy as well as free events for their families, including an Easter Egg Hunt, a Snow Angel Ball, a Pumpkin Fest, a golf tournament and a URI run. There are scholarships and even a horseback riding camp available for the children. The Fund is hoping to add more events and more services as time goes on.
One representative from each classroom was chosen to present Floskis with their donations to the Matty Hatty Fund. Floskis thanked them all as they came up, and Principal David said she was proud of the fundraising efforts of Arlington School.
"On behalf of the students and staff at Arlington, we'd like to make this very special presentation to The Matty Fund," she said.
For more information on The Matty Fund visit www.mattyfund.org.