2014 was the year Matthew Harty’s parents, Paul and Sarah, were going to send him to Camp Korey. “We wanted to send Matthew to camp because we wanted him to feel the experience of just being a kid at camp, like everybody else,” Paul said. But, Matthew never got the chance. Just days before his 8th birthday, Matthew died of mitochondrial disease.
MitoAction renamed its “Send A Kid to Camp” program, “The Matthew Harty Camper Fund” in honor of this amazing little boy. “We have a newfound mission in our family and that’s to send as many kids with mitochondrial disease as possible to camp because we never know when they’re going to get that chance, “said Paul, also a member of the MitoAction Board of Directors.
Managing mitochondrial disease is difficult for not only the child but for the entire family as well. The opportunity for a child to go to summer camp and forget about all of the issues they face day-to-day is a gift MitoAction is honored to provide not only to the child but to the family and parents as well. To date, MitoAction has sent over 350 kids to camp!
In 2015, MitoAction expanded the Matthew Harty Camper Fund to offer scholarships to college aged students with mitochondrial disease. The Matthew Harty Scholarship will be awarded to high school seniors or currently enrolled college students with a diagnosis of mitochondrial disease. Applicants must complete a written application along with an essay. The essay should include how the scholars shine will be used to further support their educational studies or how it may be used to lessen the burden of managing their affliction to achieve their educational goals.
The Matthew Harty Scholarship is also awarded each year to two North Andover High School students, the community that Matthew grew up in, to honor their commitment to community and service to others.