Tina and Phil Langone’s son Matthew lost his life to neuroblastoma on Sept. 22, 2009, just eight months after the diagnosis. He was five years old. That means Matty would have graduated from Bedford High School last June.
“He went to preschool with a lot of kids in this town, and a lot of his preschool friends acknowledged him in the yearbook,” Tina Langone said this week. “People remember him and that’s so important to us.”
Matty’s 5K Road Race, scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. on Bedford Day, Saturday, Sept. 17, is another way the family said they can keep his memory alive.
The event, taking place rain or shine, starts and ends at John Glenn Middle School, and is open to all, with registration available through https://racewire.com/register.php?id=12610. There are prizes for the top male and female finishers in various age categories and overall.
Langone said the foundation has held various fundraisers over the years, but this is the second Bedford Day road race, the successor to the Danny Oates Memorial 5K, a Bedford Day highlight for more than 25 years.
“We felt honored” to continue the Oates family tradition, Langone said. She applauded police and firefighters for their help with last year’s event. The route winds through many of the streets of West Bedford.
Registration fees and donations replenish the Friends for Matty Foundation. The funds, Langone said, benefit victims of childhood cancer through direct grants to families with children who are newly diagnosed or relapsed, or who are struggling financially. “We had one family who said they bought their kid a puppy – it’s completely up to them.”
There’s a race committee, Langone said. Taylor Sacco, who grew up in Bedford, is the race director. Although she is a student at Tulane University in New Orleans, she handles everything remotely. “Her mom Kristine has been an active member since the first fundraiser,” Langone said. “Her entire family has helped – we couldn’t do this without the Sacco family.”
Mike Rosenberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 781-983-1763