FAIRFIELD, NJ - Thursday night, November 8th, was a very, very bad night for one Fairfield child. Matthew, 10 years old, was rushed to the emergency room. He was in great pain, and doctors soon discovered that his intestines had perforated his bowel, a condition known as Gastrointestinal Perforation. Since that day, approaching one month ago, Matthew continues to be on life support.
While growing up, Matthew has had many physical challenges, including communication.
His mother Kim explains: “Matthew is a special needs child. He started having seizures when he was about 3 months old. He is blind, has never spoken, he can't hold his head up, and has the abilities of a newborn, I’ve always used a g-tube to feed him. That Thursday evening I noticed that his stomach looked a little descended and he looked as though he was in pain.”
“Because of the Hurricane, I was displaced from my home and I was staying at my parents. I drove Matthew to the hospital, and they knew immediately what was wrong with him." continued Kim. I was told in the Emergency Room that he might not make it and hours after we got here, doctors performed the surgery which saved his life.
The life-saving operation included removing seven feet of Matthew's intestines.
Over these past weeks, it has not been easy for Matthew, let alone for his mother Kim who has never left the hospital. Kim explained, “The first week here they had a real hard time stabilizing Matthew’s blood pressure. Then his blood wasn’t coagulating. At one point he needed a chest tube because one of his lungs collapsed. He received 2 units of blood in surgery and at least 7 units of plasma since he’s been here. He is going for a tracheotomy tomorrow because he needs to stay on life support and the tube can't stay down his throat.”
Recently, Matthew had a CAT scan and it was discovered that Matthew also suffered a massive stroke. There is no way to tell if it was from the traumatic events of the evening, or if he had experienced it earlier.
Kim is a single mother of three children. She works part time and has been unable to continue working while she stays at the hospital for Matthew. Her 2 other children, ages 16 and 18, also come and help out at the hospital. "They're having a rough time," said Kim. "It's so pure. They love and care for him so much."
Kim’s close friends, Roxanne DelliSanti and Ed Hart, decided that they felt compelled to do something to help ease Kim's financial situation. They decided to organize a Benefit Party "Hope for Matthew" and all of the money will be donated to Kim.
Ed Hart of Morris Plains explained, "We are coming together to show support for Matthew and his family and are asking everyone for their support. Everyone involved added their own personal touch and made this possible. The "Hope for Matthew" benefit will be held at Just Jake's in Montclair New Jersey.”
Just Jake's is located at 30 Park Street in Montclair. The event is scheduled to run from 1pm until 6pm.
“There will be live music provided by some of the area's top musicians,” continued Hart, “raffles for basket gifts and 50/50’s will be sold throughout. We've added some fun stuff for the kids! Niki Skalla will be painting faces and balloons will be provided by Fun-4-All Entertainment. Admission is a $10 donation at the door. For kids ages 12 to 18 we are asking for a $5 donation and 12 and under are free. All money will be going directly to Matthew’s family.”
Event organizer and close friend of Kim’s, Roxanne DelliSanti expressed: “On the day of this benefit, December 8th, it will be one month since our little buddy Matthew has been in the hospital. Saturday will be a fun-loving, rocking Benefit Day to keep the positive energy flowing. Matthew has been very strong and is a fighter. His mother, Kim, has been by his bedside the entire time and has not left the hospital since he was admitted. She is a single mother of three and is having financial difficulties because of all of this. We're asking for the public’s support to help ease the family's burden. All donations are greatly appreciated and most of all, we need your prayers for Matthew’s recovery, and for his Mom, for strength. We need a miracle for this little guy who is fighting so hard.”
A variety of bands will be playing at Saturday’s "Hope for Matthew" benefit at Just Jake's.
The lineup is as follows:
* 1pm to 1:30pm - Zenith
* 1:40pm to 2:10pm - James & T from Lifespeed
* 2:20pm to 2:50pm - Joe from The Benjamins
* 3pm to 3:30pm - Dr. Jameson
* 3:40pm to 4:10pm - Supermassive
* 4:20pm to 4:50pm - Peter Levine from Almost Easy
* 5pm to 5:30pm - Trippin Carla
“The support that we've received from local musicians has been amazing as well!” commented Ed Hart. “As always, there are always a ton of musicians and friends ready to lend their services. I'm really looking forward to a great afternoon of music!”
Joe Benjamin who will be performing on Saturday said, “I’m proud to be joining in for Matthew. I will be playing solo acoustic that afternoon so please come support!”
Benefit organizer Mousey Petillo of Cedar Grove enthused, “We have a fantastic lineup of musicians that are donating their time and talent for what is going to be an amazing event. They’ll all be playing for the cause. Spread the word. This is going to be an incredible day that no one should miss!”
For those who cannot attend the event, donations are being accepted online through an account established by Kim’s high school teacher. Anyone who would like to make an online donation can donate here: http://www.giveforward.com/hopeformatthew.
Organizers have amassed an enormous amount of gift baskets and gift certificates which will be raffled off at the benefit. All items have been donated from area businesses. Gifts range from a 40" Sony Bravia TV, an X-Box 360 Slim 4GB Kinect with two games, a Lottery Tree filled with scratch off cards, a hand-crocheted baby blanket and hat set, and an autographed poster of the cast of American Chopper donated by Paul Jr.
Besides the gift baskets there are hundreds of dollars worth of gift certificates to Restaurants, Hair Salons, Nurseries, Home Supplies, Pet Stores and Movie Cinemas.
Kim’s brother Mark commented, “It’s truly amazing to see how many people are reaching out to help. This is all for Matthew, he is the strongest person I know.”
So many friends, and friends of friends have effusively gathered around the family in their time of need. DelliSanti explained that the outpouring from the community has been pleasantly surprising: “A woman and her boyfriend overheard me in Dunkin Donuts talking about the benefit. They saw me again in Harmon's and gave me $20 to donate to the cause. I had to hold back the tears. Beautiful angels!”
Fairfield’s Laurie Busler-Griffith commented, “It's amazing how people came together! It just warms my heart.”
“I have my whole family coming!” cheered Maria Caprio. “Four sisters, the brother-in-laws and the kids!”
Christine Pellot stated, “I'm a mom of two boys and I know that when one of them are just even a little sick that my heart breaks a little! My heart truly goes out to Kim and Matthew and if there is anything else I can do, just let me know and I will!”
Matthew’s Mom, Kim, concluded: “The last couple of weeks have been especially difficult for Matthew and myself. First I almost lost him and still I’m told by the doctors that he's not out of the woods. I cannot begin to express the absolute blessed and overwhelming heartfelt feeling I have when I see how many people are coming out in support of Matthew and myself. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. It really touches our hearts to know that friends and strangers alike will be coming out to support him.”
“I want to thank Just Jake's, the musicians who will be donating their time and talent, and the people who have donated prizes and their time. Thanks also to all those who came to the hospital to visit with Matthew.” continued Kim.
“I actually named him Matthew because his name means “Gift of God” and his middle name, Jon, means “Gracious Gift.” The kindness of strangers has been amazing. I so wish I could thank in person the people who donated the blood that Matthew so desperately has needed. He wouldn't be here if it wasn't for those people and I promise that I will now be a donor in the future, that’s what 'Paying It Forward' is.”
Hope For Matthew Event:
Saturday, December 8th
1pm to 6pm
30 Park Street, Montclair
Online donations go directly to Matthew’s family: http://www.giveforward.com/hopeformatthew
Benefit organizer Ed Hart: “You don't want to miss this! Please come and show your support for Matthew. Please spread the word and I hope to see you there! It's going to be a great time, for a great cause... Thank you!”