Sayville community pours its heart out to teen battling bone cancer


The Sayville community and beyond is rallying around a Sayville boy diagnosed last month with bone cancer in his right lower leg.

From lemonade stands to car washes to golf tournament fundraisers, locals are stepping up to help Sayville High School honors student and fencing team captain Matthew Zender, 16, as he embarks on the battle of his life.

This week, the Pine Ridge Golf Club in Coram hosted a golf tournament that raised money to help offset the financial burden of Matt’s medical treatment. Earlier today, Matt’s fencing teammates worked together with the Sayville Fire Department, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., on a car wash event.

SweetFrog Premium Frozen Yogurt in Sayville on Aug. 7 will host a daylong fundraiser to raise money for the Zender family. At the “Make it Matter for Matt” event, a percentage of SweetFrog’s frozen yogurt sales will go toward helping the family. The store will also raffle off five “free yogurt for a year” prizes, with all the proceeds of the raffle going toward the fundraising effort.

Among other efforts, Matt’s fencing coaches are donating proceeds from their private fencing lessons this summer.

“The outpouring of community support has been amazing,” said Matt’s father Mark. “I wish none of this was happening … but I’m so very appreciative of how supportive everyone has been.”

The GoFundMe page, “Make it Matter for Matt,” has now raised over $40,000 for Matt and his family.

Matt, a triplet whose brother and sister are also athletes and honors students, was diagnosed with cancer after an injury caused by a kick to his knee was not healing properly. He underwent his first chemotherapy treatment earlier this month and faces 30 more weeks of chemotherapy. This fall, Matt will undergo tibia replacement surgery.

Since Matt’s diagnosis, the Zenders have received good news on the medical front. Biopsies of Matt’s right groin and other parts of his body showed no signs of cancer, an indication that the cancer is localized to Matt’s lower leg.


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