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Leon Sidari Memorial Fund

$68,139 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 776 people in 9 months
Noel is Leon spelled backwards.  

On Christmas morning, our 4-year-old Leon died suddenly from influenza, in spite of the extraordinary efforts of the doctors and medical professionals to save him.

Leon was a magical person.  Whether you knew him for a lifetime, or mere moments trying to help save his life, Leon touched us all.

Christmas was Leon's favorite day, even being so young.  He loved to give presents more than to receive them, something he learned from his parents, Laura and Tony.  When he visted Santa, he made sure Santa knew that his little brother needed his own truck, and his list was only one present long.

Laura and Tony are in the active military, serving their country.  They strongly believe in giving back and infused that spirit in Leon.

To continue Leon's legacy of love, we are establishing a Memorial Fund in Leon's name.  100% of the funds will be given to help children with medical problems at Christmas time to find the same joy that Leon did.  In the first year, this will be focused on children of military parents, but with your help this will grow in the years to come.

Initially the funds will be safeguarded by Leon's Grandpa Lyman, while a new 501 c 3 is created.  All funds will be transferred to this charity as soon as it is created and approved by the government agencies.

Please donate today to keep the Noel in Leon's name.
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We wanted to give you a further update about the progress Leon’s Gift is making.

Boo for the Flu, co-sponsored with Orleans Community Health and the Albion Rotary Club was a great success.

There were games and prizes, and 59 vaccinations were given. https://www.facebook.com/OrleansCommunityHealth/

#flushotsforleon on Facebook has had over 12,000 shares, 8,500 views and 450 comments with many people posting pictures of themselves getting flu shots.

Their story has been shared with a number of widely-read family sites:

https://www.scarymommy.com/mom-flu-shot-son-died/

https://thestir.cafemom.com/parenting_news/215396/healthy-toddler-died-from-flu

This afternoon, Fox News spread the message around the world, reporting on #flushotsforleon and our effort to promote vaccinations and education.

https://www.foxnews.com/health/military-physicians-who-lost-son-4-to-flu-urge-others-to-get-vaccinated

Because of your support, children are being vaccinated and everyone is learning more about the importance of the flu shot. Thank you.
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An update on the early progress of Leon’s Gift. In late August Laura and Tony were transferred, which impacted ideas in Texas due to distance. Two initiatives are under way.

Tomorrow, in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Albion NY and Orleans Community Health, Leon’s Gift will be co-sponsoring a “Say Boo to the Flu” educational and vaccination event at no cost to the children being vaccinated, regardless of insurance status. A picture of a portion of the flyer is attached. It will take place at the Albion Healthcare Center.

Secondly, Laura and Tony have started a Facebook feed to promote vaccination.

Laura wrote:
Last year, Leon was one of 180 children nationally who died from the flu. He was an “old soul” with patience and gentleness beyond his 4 years of age. His smile was infectious, and his love for his brothers inspiring. Like roughly half of the children who die annually, he did not have a history of prior medical problems. His lungs were destroyed by bacterial pneumonia secondary to the flu. He died rapidly, only 2 days after showing general flu symptoms.
As a mother, I wish I had fully appreciated the risk of the flu to my healthy child. I now intimately understand why the medical community overwhelmingly recommends the annual influenza vaccine for everyone over the age of 6 months. It has been medically established that the flu shot reduces the risk of influenza-related mortality by 65% for healthy children. Of the children who die annually from flu-related complications, roughly 80% did not have their flu shot that season. It is the best option available to prevent child death due to the flu.
Leon is my reason this season, and every season, for getting flu shots on time. This is the best time of the year to get the shot. Holiday planning and fall festivities can wait, but the flu shot cannot. If Leon or another little person is your reason for getting the flu shot this year, I ask that you consider sharing a family photo and spreading the word so that others may know too.

I want to encourage everyone to get their flu shots, and to post pictures encouraging others to do so as well. ‪#‎flushotsforleon‬
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Earlier today we received notification from the IRS that Leon's Gift was granted 501(c)(3) tax exempt status as a public charity.

We will be sending out updated gift acknowledgement letters to donors, but this only works if we have your current email address.

I expect that we will not be able to get to this until the end of July or early August. If you have made a donation but have not received an acknowledgement letter, and need one for documentation on your taxes, please email me in early September and we will address it then.

Once again, thank you for your generosity, thoughts and prayers.
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It has been a while since I last posted. We have struggled to deal with Leon no longer being physically with us.

25 years ago, the Rotary Club of Albion, NY named their golf tournament in honor of my father, Curtis Lyman. Albion was the Lyman hometown for generations before me, and where Gail and I raised Laura and her sisters. The Sidari family is also from Albion and where Tony grew up. Leon visited Albion many times to be with relatives.

Dad died July 6, 1992 and his funeral was the same day as the 1992 tournament. Curtis was a strong believer in the good of Rotary’s mission around the world, and a long-term member of the Albion Rotary club. He taught us to leave your community a little better than you found it; something that all of us also believe.

When asked if the club should cancel the tournament that year because of the funeral, we said that Dad would have expected them to “play on”.

Each year the tournament proceeds have been donated to support local community missions, such as Hospice, literacy, vocational and health related projects. In the past 25 years tens of thousands of dollars were raised and given back.

Earlier this year, the Albion Rotary Club decided that proceeds from the 25th Anniversary Curtis Lyman Memorial tournament should be donated to Leon’s Gift, to carry on the mission of giving back to the community that now spans more than 4 generations of the Lyman family.

Golf has been an activity that brought those generations together over the years. My father was a far better Rotarian than golfer, but we played together a number of years in leagues. I have shared my love of golf with my children, and one beautiful day last year, my one and only time with Leon. I spoke about that magical day in my eulogy.

We have many friends in the Country Club of Ithaca, some of whom are travelling 2 ½ hours each way in support of this inter-generational project to raise money. Some are not able to make the trip, and have donated directly. A sign in honor of all these CCI contributions will be on the course this next Thursday. I am posting a picture with this update.

Since moving to Ithaca, I have continued my 37 year membership with Rotary International. Grandma Gail joined last year. This past week Ithaca Rotary sponsored a community fireworks celebration, and as part of that sold water. Over 250 bottles of water left over are being donated to Albion Rotary from Ithaca Rotary for the tournament.

These are just some of the examples of the tremendous support and generosity that help celebrate Leon’s life through giving.

Funds raised through the golf tournament are being earmarked to sponsor educational/holiday related events in the Albion area.

We have been working with Cindy Perry, part of the local hospital system (and also a main person on the golf committee) to put together a vaccination/education and small present event for young people this coming November. I am sure that Santa will make an appearance as well.

Albion NY was the original home of the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School, and my dad was Santa’s lawyer. “Play on.”

Thank you again to everyone who has donated so generously. We are working diligently to put together programs, and will have more updates later this year.

Nathan Lyman
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$68,139 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 776 people in 9 months
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