Meeting Matty back in ’95 will always remain clear in my mind, because we were so similar in our angst, in our passion, and in our pursuit of adolescent destruction. In spite of all this, his smile and his energy were infectious, and he brought a loyal, kind heart, paired with a wild spirit, when he moved from Malden to Marshfield.
His death last June broke my heart. After high school we’d grown apart, both in geography and lifestyle, but stayed in touch through texts, social media, and a rogue phone call every few years. I’d known he had struggled with addiction, and having been in long-term recovery myself - and being very open about it - I had never wanted to push anything on him that he wasn’t ready for and potentially jeopardize our friendship. Unfortunately, despite some successful stretches of sobriety, his addiction caught up with him, and I was left to question whether or not I did all I could for a man I valued as a true friend.
Which brings me to 2004. I hadn’t met Sapphire prior to Matty’s funeral services, but I’d seen over fourteen years of her pictures that he’d paraded through the halls of social media like the proud father he was. It’s easy to sniff out parents that are using their kids as “Instagram Accessories” (Note to those people: STOP), and they just made Matty’s clear, genuine love for Sapphire shine that much brighter off of the screen. He absolutely adored her, and like any good father, wanted nothing but the best for his little girl.
You and I can help Sapphire have the best.
I had the privilege of sitting down with Sapphire and her amazing grandparents, Joyce and Michael (Matty’s parents, who have custody of Sapphire), over Christmas and getting to know her a bit. It wasn’t long into our conversation before I realized that once we all band together to boost her college fund, Sapphire will take care of the rest.
A strong, hard-working honor student halfway through her freshman year at Marshfield High, this is a young girl who has stood up to the adversity of losing a parent to addiction and so much more. She helps around the house to prepare meals for the family, she does whatever is necessary to assist her grandfather, Michael, a wonderful man who has had multiple sclerosis for at least the twenty-plus years that I’ve known him, and she is clearly wise and mature beyond her years.
To be clear, Sapphire doesn’t need a thing from us. She is a bright, responsible girl who will no doubt grow into a very resourceful young woman. But she deserves help along the way. We all know how hard life can be at times, and I’m asking from the bottom of my heart for your generosity to help keep the educational costs of Sapphire’s future as low as is humanly possible. Every last cent donated will be put toward her college education.
I couldn’t help Matty, but we can help Sapphire in honor of her father. Please donate what you can, and on behalf of myself, Sapphire, and the Barrows family: Thank you all for your kindness.
- Jason Ely
- Rick dahlstrom
- Cami MacCardell
- Colleen Patch Silva
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