A banner day

From left, Isabelle, Sophia and Heather Santoro with Matheny student Shane Szott.

Every year, Heather Santoro of Gladstone, NJ, looks forward to the Lu Huggins Wheelchair Walk at Miles for Matheny because the wheelchair participants and their walking partners go right past her home on Mendham Road.

The Santoros usually have a party on the day of Miles, inviting friends and neighbors to their house to cheer on the Matheny students and patients as they pass by. But this year Heather Santoro is going the extra mile, so to speak. Her family will be making Miles for Matheny banners, and she’s urging her neighbors on Mendham Road to do the same. She also plans to distribute a flyer in the neighborhood, and there may even be a contest to see who comes up with the most creative banner.

Santoro grew up in Peapack-Gladstone and moved back as an adult about 10 years ago. She visited Matheny recently with her daughters, six-year-old Isabelle, a first grader at the Bedwell School in Bernardsville, and nine-year-old Sophia, a Bedwell third grader. Both plan to participate in the Kids Fun Run at Miles for Matheny, and Heather’s husband, Chris, will be running in the 5K. The girls also are going to take part in a special program at The Matheny School that invites them to read to some of the students. There are also plans for a community softball game.

All funds raised at Miles for Matheny support the Matheny Center of Medicine and Dentistry, where more than 800 of New Jersey’s children, teens and adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities have access to the best possible therapy and medical and dental care.

Major sponsors for this year’s Miles for Matheny, which will be held on June 1, include the Poses Family Foundation, the Golub Family, Partlow Insurance, Peapack-Gladstone Bank, Porzio Bromberg & Newman PC Attorneys at Law, BP Fueling Communities, Delta Dental of New Jersey, Inc., WCBS-TV and WCBS Newsradio 880. For more information or to register, log onto www.milesformatheny.org or call (908) 234-0011, ext. 260.

From left, Sophia, Isabelle and Heather Santoro with Matheny director of occupational therapy Donna Kelly and student Jacob Rolaf.