Giving Back

Mahopac Mom Shines Bright for Maria Fareri

Britney Gregorio with her son, Jayden Credits: Bob Dumas
The craft fair featured all kinds of handmade items, including jewelry. Credits: Bob Dumas
Singer Tayla Rees entertains the crowd. Credits: Bob Dumas
Glow jar nightlights were the inspiration for the Shine Bright Family Craft Fair. Credits: Bob Dumas
Local authors Susan Berlinger (“Dust,” “The Sea Cyrstal”), left, and Linda Griffin (“Adopting Ginger”) were on hand to support the cause and promote their recent books. Credits: Bob Dumas
Oleksandra Stelmah, left, owner of Leinad Boutique, who created all these cute stuffed animals, with Lacy Shilagani of Ninjacat Studios in Yorktown Credits: Bob Dumas

MAHOPAC, N.Y.— Britney Gregoria wanted to shine a bright light on the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital in Valhalla for all the good they do for kids who suffer from an array of  illnesses. So, the Mahopac resident decided to gather together area crafters, vendors and authors and hold a craft fair to raise money for the hospital.

On Saturday, Sept. 9, the Shine Bright Family Craft Fair was held at the Italian American Club on Buckshollow Road in Mahopac, featuring handmade crafts, stuffed animals, jewelry, candles, live entertainment, sweet treats and other refreshments.

Gregoria has a strong motivation for wanting to help Maria Fareri’s Children’s Hospital. She said the doctors and nurses there saved her son’s life. Her son, Jayden, now 9, was born with a hole in his trachea.

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“We almost lost him last year,” Gregoria said. “The doctors couldn’t figure it out. We had to call 911 four times.”

Finally, they brought Jayden to Maria Fareri.

“They are just amazing,” she said. “It was not an easy stay. We were there for a couple of months.”

Gregoria said the doctors performed exploratory surgery to try and find the root of Jayden’s illness.

“He went through three procedures to fix it,” she said. “They have one doctor who specializes in this kind of thing. She said it was a delicate surgery and there was a possibility he could die on the operating table. It was really intense.”

After his surgery, which proved successful, Jayden had to go through a long recovery process and he started to get depressed. Gregoria searched for a project the two could do together and they started making night lights—glass containers with light bulbs (some look like Mason jars) featuring various designs and logos, some that can be customized. They decided to call them glow jars.

“Jayden said we have to sell them to the world,” Gregoria said.

They began selling them at craft fairs and then created their own glow jar website and sales took off.

“They seem to make people really happy,” she said. “It’s been kind of magical. They sell out quickly.”

But Jayden wanted to do more with the glow jars; he wanted to find a way to give back to Marie Fareri. Inspired by the craft fairs at which they first sold their creations, the mother/son team decided to create their own craft fair and donate the proceeds to the hospital. The Shine Bright Family Craft Fair was born.

“It was Jayden’s dream to give back,” he said. “This is a start.”

To learn more about the glow jars, go to myglowbright.com.

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