A parent’s praise

Mike and Bo Geraghty, second from right, with other members of “Team Bo” at the 2013 Miles for Matheny, an annual fundraiser and community event.

Mike and Liz Geraghty of Cranford, NJ, are the parents of Bozena Geraghty, a resident at Matheny. Bo was born with Cornelia de Lange syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes a range of physical, cognitive and medical challenges. Bo is 22 years old and has been at Matheny for four years. According to her father, “she has thrived, as the staff at Matheny has provided a level of care and opportunity we never could have imagined. Most look at Bo and see what she can’t do. Matheny turned that view on its head and looks at her for what she can do.”

A recent decision by a Superior Court judge in Somerset County, NJ, has upheld a 2011 decision by the Peapack-Gladstone, NJ, Land Use Board to reject a proposed expansion and renovation by Matheny. That rejection was based primarily on complaints by neighbors that increased traffic caused by the expansion would make Highland Avenue, the road leading up to Matheny, more unsafe and would imperil the lives of those using it.

While those decisions were disappointing to the Geraghtys, Mike Geraghty prefers to “shine a light on those who make Matheny the success it is, rather than focusing on those responsible for blocking the expansion.” He does acknowledge, though, that his daughter may have been accountable for some of the traffic on Highland Avenue because, “the Matheny staff has taken her camping, ice skating, bowling, horseback riding, fishing and to the beach. And this past year, she finished an assisted 25-meter walk at the Somerset County Special Olympics.”

He also has a message for the neighbors who opposed Matheny’s expansion and renovation. “You can attend church every day for the rest of your life,” he says, “but if you really want to see God’s work being done, then take a ride to the top of Highland Avenue.”

Go Bo

Bo Geraghty on a camping trip with recreation therapist Saori Cheth.

Liz and Michael Geraghty of  Cranford, NJ, believe people with disabilities should have an opportunity “to experience all that life offers.” With that in mind, they have formed a fundraising team called “Go Bo” to raise money for Miles for Matheny, our annual community event being held Sunday, April 21, at Liberty Park in Peapack, NJ. The “Bo” is Bozena, the Geraghty’s 22-year-old daughter, who became a Matheny resident in 2009. As of April 16, the Geraghtys had raised $1,185.

Because of the security and peace of mind that Matheny has given her family, Liz Geraghty became very involved in Matheny’s activities and last year was elected president of Matheny’s auxiliary group, The Friends of Matheny. “My daughter doesn’t walk,” she says, “and she doesn’t talk. But during her first year at Matheny, the recreation department told me they wanted to take her camping, and I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding!”

Activities at Miles for Matheny include the Lu Huggins Wheelchair Walk, a 5K Run, five different Cycling routes, a Kids Fun Run and The Friends of Matheny’s “Breakfast of Champions,” plus luncheon refreshments in the park. All funds raised help support the Matheny Center of Medicine and Dentistry, which provides medical, dental and therapy care to people with disabilities in communities throughout New Jersey. Major sponsors include: the Poses Family Foundation, title sponsor; Partlow Insurance Agency; Peapack-Gladstone Bank; Porzio Bromberg & Newman, P.C.; Affinity Federal Credit Union; and WCBS-TV and WCBS Newsradio 880.

To find out how you can be part of this fun-filled and uplifting event, log onto www.milesformatheny.org or call (908) 234-0011, ext. 260. To help support Go Bo, click on Search for Participant and type in the team name.