I support four charities that I humbly and enthusiastically invite you to explore.
Food For The Hungry and World Vision
Many years ago in the early 90’s (geez!) I wrote the beginnings of the Holiday concert music, usually around commissioned music for various churches. Food For The Hungry, a great non-profit, run like a top, paid for the recording of William The Angel. In return we sold child sponsorships and gave all the proceeds from the sales of William to the charity. Thanks to Ed Manning who set that all up.
What I loved about FFTH was that they focused on things that are now more publicized but back then were not thought of as much, namely enabling people to take care of themselves and over and above everything else, CLEAN WATER, CLEAN WATER!!!! Not unlike World Vision, they take care of business and do not waste too much money just running their operation. They both focus on slightly different things.
World Vision is a charity that actually ran a local office in lower Connecticut at my church Trinity Church in Greenwich. It was because of World Vision that I was able to visit Rwanda in January of 2003. They have people on the ground in so many countries and were among the first on the scene in Haiti. I then gave the Christmas Concerts for World Vision between 2004 and 2008. Two great charities, making the world a better place as best they can. Thank God for them. Here are the links:
Dana’s Angels Research Trust
Below is a small blurb on a concert I gave for Phil and Andrea Marella and their children, Dana and Andrew Marella who are both suffering from an incredibly tragic disease, one is which slowly but surely the body closes in on itself. Dana was an active, vibrant kid just 4 years ago and now is wheelchair bound and completely incapable of almost anything except lighting the world with that smile of hers. Here are snippets from our press release:
DART was founded by Greenwich residents Andrea and Phil Marella. Two of the Marella’s four children, Dana and Andrew, have Niemann-Pick Type C disease (NPC). The Marellas are in a race with time to try and find a treatment for NPC and fundraisers such as the Rob Mathes Benefit Concert bring them a step closer to funding crucial research that can help not only their children, but other children suffering from NPC and even adults that have Alzheimer’s, heart disease and possibly HIV/AIDS, in all of which cholesterol may play a key role. NPC is a disease caused by the body’s failure to properly metabolize cholesterol. The Marella’s two children, Dana who is 15, and Andrew who is 9, are on an experimental medication called Zavesca, which is helping keep the disease somewhat at bay for them both, but Dana did not receive the medicine until her disease was more advanced. Dana is now confined to a wheelchair, suffers seizures, and uses a feeding tube.
“Phil and Andrea Marella are tireless in their pursuit of a cure for Niemann-Pick Type C disease,” noted Rob Mathes. “It was my hope that this concert would bring some much needed awareness to this disease and support for Dana’s Angels Research Trust. I told the Marellas that they didn’t need stars, what they needed was ‘COMMUNITY.’ I wanted to get a group of people together, play great music for them, talk about Dana and Andrew, have a little get together before and after the concert and get the Marellas and their struggle on people’s radar locally. Ours is the kind of community that could and would help build up and comfort a family like the Marellas and make a difference in funding DART’s research. That was my hope.”
Please visit the DART site which is “Dana’s Angels”: http://www.danasangels.org/
Maybe closest to my heart these days is a charity called Making Headway which is raising money towards the care and comfort for children with spinal cord and brain cancer. Below are the liner notes for a song called “Everywhere” I wrote for Max Scotti, a boy who was in my wife’s first grade class last year. Max died of brain cancer and was such an extraordinary little kid that his life and death affected so many people in our area. Making Headway started a fund in Max’s honor. Go visit their site if you get a chance. The link is below.
The song “Everywhere” can be heard on the albums channel of the Rob Mathes Radio on this site or view the video on the Everywhere EP page under “Albums”.
My liner notes for Max’s song:
Max Scotti, a beautiful, seven year old boy in my wife’s first glade class at The Greenwich Country Day School, passed away on Tuesday, April 21st, 2009. The cause of death was brain cancer that eventually spread to the spine. He was an extraordinary boy; a bright light to those of us who had the privilege to know him. I will never ever forget how after chemo treatments, all he wanted to do was get back to Mrs. Mathes’ classroom so he could act in their play, “Mastering Math.” He played Client #3.
A song is a paltry thing and in some ways inappropriate in an instance like this. How do you write about suffering if you are not suffering yourself? In my own defense, I will say that in no way did I feel remotely worthy of what the Scottis were going through. In fact I did not feel close enough to them to write anything at all.
The truth of the matter is that “Everywhere” wrote itself. Trinity Church in Greenwich asked me to write something for their Christmas Eve service. Max had just been diagnosed with inoperable cancer and I was in no mood to write a Christmas song. I was, frankly, sad and angry, and wrote down the lines, “Where are the shepherds, their sheep, where is Mary????” At 3am in the morning I got my answer.
I recorded the song because Margery and Gavin, Max’s mom and dad, responded so graciously to it. Mike Stemkoski, a man who travels 2000 miles every year to see our Holiday concert, helped pay for it. I can’t thank him enough.
In this song, Max’s name is spoken at the beginning of almost every single line. It is my honor to be a part of his story. I may not be worthy of it but this is the best I can do. God bless you Max, and may love follow you everywhere—Rob.
Here is the Making Headway website: http://www.makingheadway.org/
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