Starlight Families Share
When Catriona was born, she was very thin at just five pounds and yellow. I knew something was not right. After several weeks of testing, we discovered Catriona had a genetic disease called Alpha 1 Antitrypsin Deficiency that affects the liver and lungs. Catriona had cirrhosis of the liver - as a newborn! Catriona
My daughter’s diagnosis completely turned our lives upside-down. My husband and I had always planned on returning to Ireland, our home country, with our family. However, Catriona's medical care became our first priority, and we knew it was in our best interest to stay in Boston and treat the disease
A Special Thank You from a Starlight Mom
My son Caleb and I want to thank you SO much for the opportunity you gave us to see the New England Revolution play at Gillette Stadium! The night was an exciting one for Caleb and the opportunity came at the perfect time! Caleb spent the past 12 months having weekly chemotherapy to treat cancer. He recently began a break in treatment and is feeling much of his energy return.
This spring, he decided to play soccer instead of baseball (much to his father's dismay!). He just completed several weeks of indoor soccer and is excited to sign up for the outdoor league in our town as well! Only a couple days before we found out about the opportunity to see the New England Revolution play, Caleb asked if there was a professional team for soccer. When we told him about the team, he asked if we could possibly go to a game some day. So, you can imagine his excitement when he found out where we were going this past weekend! He didn't take his eyes off the field for the whole game--something has to be pretty exciting to keep this 7-year old focused for so long! He studied the program to learn about the players and asked a ton of questions about the game. He loved the whole experience!
Caleb missed so many opportunities to "just be a kid" this past year. Thank you so much for giving him a wonderful opportunity to just be a kid and learn about a new sport! The New England Revolution definitely has a new, devoted fan!
A Starlight Mom
Father Cycles for his Kids and Other Children Struggling with a Serious Illness
For the last six years, Starlight dad Jerry McNeil has hit the road to cycle for Starlight in the Annual Rodman Ride for Kids. As part of Starlight Children’s Foundation’s Bike Team, he raises funds for Starlight’s local New England programs that brighten the lives of seriously ill children. Jerry rides for all of Starlight’s children and families, but most importantly, for his own sons, J.T. and Nicholas.
When J.T. was 4, he was diagnosed with a condition that forces him to deal with chronic pain. This news came around the same time his younger brother, Nicholas, was having kidney surgery. J.T.’s 1st grade teacher, who witnessed J.T.’s daily struggles, told the McNeils about Starlight, and they have been part of Starlight’s community since J.T.’s diagnosis and regularly attend Starlight’s Great Escape family activities...read more.
The Murphy family joined Starlight this past March for a Happy Birthday WOW Great Escape family event hosted by Stephanie’s on Newbury. This is was special day for Matthew Murphy, a spirited 6 year-old boy who suffers from mitochondrial disease, better known as Leigh’s disease. Matthew is confined to a wheelchair and has impaired speech, but he is full of laughter and always makes sure everyone around him is having a good time. “When we attend Starlight events Matthew is always all smiles and giggles. He enjoys the shows and activities, he claps his hands and laughs along with the family,” says his mother, Joyce.
The family often passes on events with other children because they are at venues that aren’t accessible to Matthew or his immune system isn’t strong enough to participate in all of the activities. Matthew usually spends his time playing with toy cars or riding a tricycle around the house, but through Starlight’s Great Escape program, he is able to participate in activities that cater to his special needs. The Happy Birthday Great Escape at Stephanie’s on Newbury was a particularly special event for Matthew and his family. It gave them the opportunity to be together without the pressure of illness and future challenges, and instead, allowed them to celebrate the moment. “When I heard Starlight was having a Birthday Party at Stephanie’s on Newbury Street I thought, “Wow, I couldn’t believe we were going to be having such a celebration, and on Newbury Street!”
It feels like I hit a homerun with every treatment I complete. Both the Boston Red Sox and Starlight have inspired me throughout my illness. My name is Justine Williams and I am 10 years old. I was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, or bone cancer, on October 6, 2006. My family was very upset. I was scared... read more