Community rallies for South Abington kindergarten student, kidney cancer patient Matthew McDonnell


By Elizabeth Baumeister - ebaumeister@timesleader.com



Family and friends of the McDonnells pack The Vault Tap and Kitchen in Scranton for the Miraculous Matthew Benefit Saturday.


Elizabeth Baumeister | Abington Journal

The guest of honor arrives with his parents at The Vault Tap and Kitchen in Scranton for the Miraculous Matthew Benefit Saturday . From left, Matthew Sr., Matthew Jr. and Linda McDonnell.


Elizabeth Baumeister | Abington Journal

Matthew McDonnell, 5, holds on to his father Matthew McDonnell, as the family greets guests at the Miraculous Matthew Benefit Jan 16 at The Vault Tap and Kitchen in Scranton. The event was organized by friends to help offset medical, travel and lodging expenses associated with the South Abington Elementary kindergarten student’s surgeries and treatments for kidney cancer.


Elizabeth Baumeister | Abington Journal

SCRANTON — If anyone has a reason to be sad, it’s Matthew Christian McDonnell. After three surgeries and ongoing treatments for kidney cancer, one may say the 5-year-old has a “right” to be unhappy.

But, according to Matthew’s grandparents, Pat and Joyce McDonnell, of Dickson City, his personality is just the opposite.

“He is very outgoing and full of joy; he’s always full of joy, in spite of all that he’s gone through,” his grandmother said, adding he tells people his joy comes from God.

“God has his hand on him, without a doubt,” she said.

So do his friends and family members, who packed The Vault Tap and Kitchen, 301 N. Main Ave., Saturday evening for the Miraculous Matthew Benefit. The event was organized by Sue Youtz, Erin Kologe and a handful of volunteers to raise funds to help with the family’s medical, travel and lodging bills associated with Matthew’s treatments at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).

“It’s a good feeling to get a lot of people together for a common cause, to support this wonderful family,” said Youtz. “They are a wonderful, giving, family themselves, so it feels good to be able to give back to them.”

The benefit featured pizza and wings provided by the venue, a basket raffle with prizes donated by area businesses and community members and a 50/50 raffle. Guests also arrived with a vast selection of desserts to share, along with a large Superman cake in Matthew’s honor.

Those who wish to donate to the cause may still do so via the Matthew Christian McDonnell Fund, Community Bank, NA, 128 Lackawanna Ave., Olyphant, PA, 18447.

According to Joyce McDonnell, Matthew also values people’s prayers.

She related one of his recent bedtime prayers, in which he said, “Jesus, please heal all the sick little children, and me, too.”

She also told a story of when one of the nurses at CHOP asked her grandson if he was the “boss” at his house.

“No,” he told the nurse. “Jesus is the boss.”

Family and friends of the McDonnells pack The Vault Tap and Kitchen in Scranton for the Miraculous Matthew Benefit Saturday.
http://theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/web1_ABJ-Matthew-2.jpgFamily and friends of the McDonnells pack The Vault Tap and Kitchen in Scranton for the Miraculous Matthew Benefit Saturday. Elizabeth Baumeister | Abington Journal

The guest of honor arrives with his parents at The Vault Tap and Kitchen in Scranton for the Miraculous Matthew Benefit Saturday . From left, Matthew Sr., Matthew Jr. and Linda McDonnell.
http://theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/web1_ABJ-Matthew-3.jpgThe guest of honor arrives with his parents at The Vault Tap and Kitchen in Scranton for the Miraculous Matthew Benefit Saturday . From left, Matthew Sr., Matthew Jr. and Linda McDonnell. Elizabeth Baumeister | Abington Journal

Matthew McDonnell, 5, holds on to his father Matthew McDonnell, as the family greets guests at the Miraculous Matthew Benefit Jan 16 at The Vault Tap and Kitchen in Scranton. The event was organized by friends to help offset medical, travel and lodging expenses associated with the South Abington Elementary kindergarten student’s surgeries and treatments for kidney cancer.
http://theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/web1_ABJ-Matthew-1.jpgMatthew McDonnell, 5, holds on to his father Matthew McDonnell, as the family greets guests at the Miraculous Matthew Benefit Jan 16 at The Vault Tap and Kitchen in Scranton. The event was organized by friends to help offset medical, travel and lodging expenses associated with the South Abington Elementary kindergarten student’s surgeries and treatments for kidney cancer. Elizabeth Baumeister | Abington Journal

By Elizabeth Baumeister

ebaumeister@timesleader.com

Reach Elizabeth Baumeister at 570-704-3943 or on Twitter @AbingtonJournal

Reach Elizabeth Baumeister at 570-704-3943 or on Twitter @AbingtonJournal

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