More and more, they’re making it matter for Matt.
In its continued support of Sayville teen Matt Zender and his battle against bone cancer, the Greater Sayville community will host a pancake fundraiser breakfast Sunday, Oct. 20, at Applebee’s in Bohemia, 3870 Veterans Memorial Highway.
The proceeds from “Short Stacks for a Tall Cause” will help offset the financial burden of the 16-year-old’s medical treatment. The breakfast is from 8-10 a.m, and tickets are $12. Call 631.848.5470 or email Jwichick@aol.com for more information.
Matt — an honors student and a captain on the fencing team at Sayville High School — is recovering from the 14-hour limb-salvage surgery he had Friday at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital. This, after more than 10 weeks of chemotherapy treatment over the summer.
“The Appelebee’s event is going to be an impressive symbolization of the love this community has for Matt and his family,” said Jill Brown, Matt’s high school fencing coach who helped organize the event. “What I really like about this event – and thank you Applebee’s for hosting it – is that Matt’s friends get to show their compassion and support by running the event as servers and hosts.
“This event gives the kids in our town a chance to show their desire to be part of helping Matt heal,” she added.
Brown said she expects a big crowd at the event and that more than 30 raffle prizes have been donated.
“Together, as one great big Matt-loving pack, we are going to demonstrate just how much this kid is loved,” Brown said.
Matt, who is a triplet, was diagnosed in June with an aggressive form of bone cancer in his lower right leg — after an injury caused by a kick to his knee did not heal properly. Ever since, the local community has rallied around the Zender family.
• Brown established a GoFundMe page, “Make it Matter for Matt.”
• Sayville High School’s music department is conducting an apparel fundraiser for the Zender family.
• SweetFrog in Sayville donated a percentage its frozen yogurt sales on Aug. 7 to assist the family.
• Youths have set up lemonade stand sales and the West Sayville Fire Department hosted a car wash.
• Pine Ridge Golf Club in Coram hosted a golf tournament fundraiser.
From his hospital bed Tuesday night, Matt said “the response from the community has been amazing. I can’t thank everyone enough for their support.”
Matt, who next month will begin 20 more weeks of chemotherapy, said he was touched to learn that “most of the school wore yellow for childhood cancer awareness on the day I had my bone tumor surgery.”
“Matt is so deeply connected to his community,” Brown said. “Through his love of sports, music, faith, theater, academics, the boy scouts and the fire department, he has reached each person in our town,” Brown said, adding that people across the country have shown support for Matt and his battle to beat cancer.
“Matt is a standout human being, singularly funny, charismatic, kind, and determined. His work ethic is extraordinary and he simultaneously creates a climate of fun and joy for those around him,” she said.
“Matt’s family is an anchor in the Sayville community – loving, talented triplets and the warmest, most engaging parents you’ll find. Everyone knows them. Everyone wants this family to heal.”