Matthew DeRiggi is a 17-year old sophomore at Toms River High School North who faces more challenges on a daily basis that most of us will over the course of a lifetime. 

Matt and his dad in a marathon (Townsquare Media NJ)

Matt has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy which is a genetic disorder that results in progressive muscle degeneration and leads to serious medical problems.   The life expectancy of someone with DMD is around 25 but that varies from patient to patient.

Matt is well known around Toms River and a fixture at sporting events featuring his beloved Mariners.  He is also an avid Rutgers football fan going back to when Greg Schiano was coach and continuing under Kyle Flood who sends him season tickets and invites to spring and summer practices.  Matty has built and maintains friendships with many Scarlet Knight players including Kevin Malast, Mohammad Sanu, Tim Wright and Brian Leonard.  His love for football has resulted in annual trips with his father Tom to NFL training camps to see his Rutgers buddies, especially the Bengals Sanu who he has developed a close bond with.  Another one of his favorites also plays in Cincinnati and that’s Reds third baseman Todd Frazier from Toms River.

Matt has been confined to a wheelchair since 2010 when he broke his hip and everyday tasks we take for granted don’t come easy.  However he doesn’t dwell on his problems as along with his mother Barbara they continue a family tradition of sending Christmas cards to troops overseas.

Matt with Todd Frazier (Townsquare Media NJ)

As you might imagine the medical bills and treatments have become overwhelming for the DeRiggi Family which includes older siblings Tommy and Danielle.  This includes medical treatments and travel, a specialized van with chair lift and home renovations to accommodate Matty moving from the second to first floor following recent major spinal surgery.

The follow-up is the family now needs to add an addition to their house which is why friends have set up a Go Fund Me page with a goal of $35,000…so far more than $12,000 has been donated in just 9 days.  To contribute to the Matt DeRiggi “Keep the Faith Fund” and help an extraordinary young man with an equally extraordinary family visit the Go Fund Me link at gofundme.com/nj6ey0.   It would be great to see the community pull together for a family that asks for little and displays great faith on a daily basis that miracles can come true.