Special birthday

Jack O’Connor, second from right, presents a $700 check to his brother Ryan. Others pictured are, from left: Matheny School principal Sean Murphy, student Jacob Rolaf, teaching assistant Kristin Barone, Ryan and Jack, student Sara Hoffman and her nurse Nancy Winder.

When Jack O’Connor turned 12, he decided to use his birthday to help the Matheny School, where his younger brother Ryan is a student. So, he told his friends at the Immaculate Conception School in Annandale, NJ, to give him money that he would, in turn, donate to Matheny. His friends came through, and Jack visited Matheny recently to present a check for $700.

Ten-year-old Ryan, who was born with a very rare chromosome deletion, has been a student at Matheny for 7 ½ years. His mother Debbie says Matheny is “a safe environment made up of amazing people who give everything so that our children have a life that, as a parent of a special needs child, I never would have thought possible.”