Roxbury Football Loses But Fans Open Wallets for Kid With Cancer

Heidi Bagonis, Jen Perhacs, Karen Guerra, Vanessa Polidoro, Nancy Dansecs and Tammy Polidoro gathering money to help a Roxbury boy battle a brain tumor Credits: Mary Axelson

ROXBURY, NJ – The Roxbury High School football team was soundly defeated Friday by its opponents from Mount Olive, but there was some good news that came out of the event: More than $11,000 was raised at the game to help a Roxbury child fighting a brain tumor.

After going into halftime with a 14-14 tie, the Gaels lost momentum. Roxbury failed to score in either of the remaining two quarters while Mount Olive piled on two touchdowns in the third and another in the fourth.

The loss puts the Gaels’ record at 2-5. Mount Olive, meanwhile, stands at 6-1.

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On the bright side, the event revealed again the generosity of the Roxbury community. People at the game dug deep and donated $11,293 to the family of 9-year-old Matthew Adonis, a Nixon Elementary School fourth-grader battling a brain tumor.

Parents of Gaels football players offered bracelets that said “Team Matt” to those who donated $5 or more to help the family defray medical costs. There were donation buckets on site as well.

“If that money could take one second of stress away from them, we’ve done some good," said Jennifer Perhacs, one of the team mothers who helped collect the donations.

An online fundraiser for the child has a goal of $45,000. As of Saturday, almost $17,000 had been pledged there.

On another front, the Roxbury Junior Gaels football team is also trying to help. The team will be hosting a “Touchdown for Matt” game on Oct. 28 when it plays Mount Olive at home at 5 p.m., said Nina Mobilio.

She said her son, Christian Mobilio and two other boys, Anthony Skawinski and Matthew Collins, “started the whole initiative after hearing how others were helping and wanted to do something themselves, then their entire team soon followed.”

Mobilio, in an email, said other teams in the league have expressed a desire to help as well “which made them even more excited and motivated to make this a huge success and bring awareness.”

At the game, the young footballers will ask for a “one-time donation or a pledge for each touchdown they may score,” Mobilio said. She also said the boys plan to go “door-to-door” this weekend “to spread the word.”

Additional money for the family is going to be raised by the Roxbury High School student council.

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