Giving Back

Morgan’s FunDay Raises Money for a Good Cause

Jennifer Degl, left, presents Dr. Boriana Parvez, a neonatologist at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, with the Lily Pedro Foundation Award. Credits: Photo courtesy of Jennifer Degl

MAHOPAC, N.Y. - The second annual Morgan’s FunDay, a fundraiser for the Morgan Leary Vaughan Fund, was held at the Mahopac Golf and Beach Club last month to raise awareness and money for research in necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).

NEC is a disease that develops when the tissue in the inner lining of the small or large intestine becomes damaged and begins to die and causes the intestine to become inflamed. In severe cases, a hole may form in the wall of the intestine and bacteria can cause widespread infection. This is considered a medical emergency. The disease can develop in any newborn within two weeks after birth. However, it’s most common in premature infants, accounting for 60 to 80 percent of cases. 

At Morgan’s FunDay, the Morgan Leary Vaughan Fund honored Dr. Boriana Parvez, a neonatologist at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network, and director of development at the New York Milk Bank, with the Lily Pedro Award for Excellence.

Sign Up for E-News

Morgan’s FunDay was organized and hosted by Jennifer Degl, a Mahopac resident and teacher, and author of “From Hope to Joy: A Memoir of a Mother’s Determination and Her Micro Preemie’s Struggle to Beat the Odds,” with help from the Morgan Leary Vaughan Fund, whose mission is to promote public awareness about NEC and the potentially devastating effects it can have on preemies and their families, and to advance research to prevent, diagnose, treat, and ultimately, cure it. 

“As a mother of a surviving micro preemie and a member of the Morgan Leary Vaughan Fund’s Board of Directors, I feel that I must do what I can to help future premature babies and their families find as the success we did,” Degl said. “This year we were honored to present the Lily Pedro Award for Excellence to Dr. Boriana Parvez for the outstanding work she has done in creating the New York Milk Bank, a donor milk program for New York State mothers. This program is important because of the effects that breast milk has on reducing cases of NEC in premature babies."

Established in 2016, the Lily Pedro Award for Excellence award recognizes individuals or organizations who exemplify the mission, vision, and ideals of the Morgan Leary Vaughan Fund. It is named in memory of Lily Marie Pedro, infant daughter of Katherine and Frank Pedro, who lost her battle with NEC in 2012.

The Morgan Leary Vaughan Fund (Morgan’s Fund) is an all-volunteer, public charity dedicated to promoting public awareness about NEC. Named after Morgan, it celebrates his survival, courage and strength.

Morgan and his twin brother were born at 28 weeks, one day gestation—nearly three months early—each weighing less than 2.5 pounds. At four days old, Morgan developed NEC and lost approximately 20 percent of his small intestine. Morgan not only survived but also has thrived since his bout with NEC. This is his family’s way of paying it forward.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


I Do Not Make Stuff Up!

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote in my column, “Watergate analogies apply to Obama, not Trump,” that President Obama’s Justice Department planted a spy in the Trump campaign. I said I used the term “spy” because this was a counter-intelligence operation, not a criminal investigation, where the term informant would have been proper.

That statement has been brought ...

Here's What You Missed Last Week

Last week, the Daily News ran a headline, “When is our father coming home?” This dealt with a person here illegally, married to an American woman with a family, who was arrested at an Army base while delivering pizza. You are supposed to think that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), under Trump, is tearing families apart. As usual, it was a crock of cow pies. It was ...

Reagan on Trump

The party of “Honest Abe” has now become the party of Dishonest Don, and what follows are some disturbing displays of a Republican Party that has become devoid of conscience:

• More than 4,600 American citizens dead in Puerto Rico—a postscript to the government’s abysmal response to the widespread devastation of Hurricane Maria; 
• The underhanded ...

What Kind of Sports Parent Are You?

Social media recently showered a lot of likes and love on a high school pitcher in Minnesota whose team was playing in a regional final that would send the winning team to the state championship game.

After the last batter of the game struck out, the pitcher did something unheard of. Rather than spontaneously join his teammates in an on-field celebration, as is customary, the pitcher ...

Competing—Against Yourself

This is the time of year when students are recognized at public ceremonies for notable achievements in their studies, their sports and in their extracurricular pursuits.

Where we live, there are awards in various sports that are named for our son, who also is memorialized by town ballfield Harrison Apar Field of Dreams and a charitable foundation of the same name.

Due to a rare dwarfism, ...

Packing Heat

“Are you leaving me?” asked my husband one night as he surveyed the contents of my closet on our bed.

“What? No!” I said. “Why would you think that?”

“Every single article of clothing you own is laid out on our bed,” he replied. “So I have to assume you are either leaving me or you have joined the armed services and if that’s the ...

I Come from the Land Down Under

I know this is a family column, so I’m going to put this in as delicate terms as possible.

This morning I woke up and I knew, as sure as the sun shines over Bora Bora, that something was very, very wrong in that place in my body where the Bora Bora sun doesn’t shine.

It’s that place I used to refer to my daughter as her hoo-hoo. But it certainly wasn’t a happy ...

Upcoming Events


Wed, June 27, 9:00 AM

Putnam County Department of Health, Brewster

PCDOH Free HIV Testing Day

Health & Wellness