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.”

Team ICS

Ryan O'Connor participating in an adapted sport activity with physical education instructor Jim Hintenach, left, and occupational therapist Deborah Goodhart.

Last year the Immaculate Conception School in Annandale, NJ, designated Matheny as the beneficiary of its Dance-A-Thon and raised $10,000. This year, ICS has formed a fundraising team to support Miles for Matheny and has set a fundraising goal of $15,000. The effort is being coordinated by Debbie O’Connor, an Annandale resident whose nine-year-old son Ryan is a student at Matheny.

In her message to ICS families, O’Connor says, “Our team will participate in the Lu Huggins Wheelchair Walk – non-runners and families can enjoy fun and fitness walking alongside Matheny children and adults who ‘wheel’ the streets of downtown Peapack to the cheers of the local community and other supporters.”

Confirmation candidates will receive service hours for volunteering to push a Matheny student or patient, but O’Connor added that ICS students might choose to volunteer with their family to push one of the wheelchair participants. “It is an amazing experience,” she said, “that will touch your hearts.” It will be easy to spot the Immaculate Conception volunteers because O’Connor is having t-shirts made specifically for Team ICS.

In addition to the Wheelchair Walk, activities at Miles for Matheny will include a 5K Race, five different Cycling routes, a Kids Fun Run and The Friends of Matheny’s “Breakfast of Champions, followed by luncheon refreshments in the park. All funds raised will 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 and uplifting event, log onto www.milesformatheny.org or call (908) 234-0011, ext. 260. To help support Team ICS, click on Search for Participant and type in the team name.

Dancing for dollars

Matheny adult patients Cindy Shanks and Dion Alston take a turn on the dance floor.

The Immaculate Conception School in Annandale, NJ, raised $10,000 for Matheny at its annual Dance-A-Thon, held April 20 and 21. Matheny parent Debbie O’Connor, whose son Ryan is a Matheny student, was instrumental in having Matheny designated as a recipient of funds from this event.

“Matheny,” she says, “tries to provide these children with every opportunity to experience life at the highest quality possible.”

To read more about the ICS Dance-A-Thon, look for the spring/summer 2012 Matheny Matters newsletter, arriving in your mailbox soon. Or find Matheny Matters online on the homepage of the Matheny website. If you’d like a copy sent to you, call (908) 234-0011, ext. 273, or email sjosephson@matheny.org.

Put on your dancin’ shoes—for a good cause

Ryan O'Connor.

If you like to dance, want to help Matheny—or better yet, both—save Friday, April 20. That’s the date for the Dance-A-Thon at Immaculate Conception School in Annandale, NJ, which this year will benefit Matheny.

Debbie O’Connor, whose eight-year-old son Ryan is a student at the Matheny School, is the Social Concerns chair of Immaculate Conception’s Home and School Association. She suggested Matheny as this year’s beneficiary, saying, “Matheny tries to provide these children with every opportunity to experience life at the highest quality possible. They set no boundaries for any of these children but allow them to thrive in a safe medical environment.”

Sharing her own experience, she said, “We were told there was no chance Ryan would ever walk. On Christmas Day 2008, at the age of almost six, Ryan stood up and walked, completely unassisted for an extended period of time. This would never have been possible if he were not in the hands of the staff at Matheny.”

For more information, contact Debbie O’Connor at djoconnor6@comcast.net.