Accepting the presidency of The Friends of Matheny is, to Liz Geraghty, a way of giving back to an organization that has provided her and her family security and peace of mind. Geraghty’s daughter Bozena was born with Cornelia de Lange Syndrome (CdLS), a genetic disorder that causes a range of physical, cognitive and medical challenges. Bo has been a residential student at Matheny since June 2009, and she has flourished.
When Bo was first admitted to Matheny, the Geraghtys weren’t sure how she would adapt. “We decided we would just follow her lead,” Geraghty recalls. “She was laughing, crying, being stubborn, giggling – all of her normal emotions. That, to us, meant she was relaxed. My biggest surprise,” she continues, “is how much the recreation therapy department looked at my daughter as a teenager, who just happened to have this syndrome. They said, ‘We want to take her camping – three days, two nights.’ I said, ‘You’re kidding!’”
After joining the board of The Friends, Matheny’s auxiliary group, Geraghty became familiar with its origins. “I learned that the group was started by a small group of women who had no family connection to Matheny. The time, effort and energy they spent totally impressed me.” As she prepares to take office, Geraghty is looking forward to recruiting new members to The Friends as well as working more closely with Matheny’s development department and its Board of Trustees.
She can do all of this because she no longer worries about her daughter. “My youngest child,” she says, “has left home, and her future is secure.”