On Saturday, July 27, the East End community will come together in support of one of their own, Matthew Raynor, who suffered a spinal injury in May that resulted in the paralysis of the upper chest through his lower extremities, and limited control of his arms and hands. Get Matty Ray Back on the Bay, a fundraiser for the Hampton Bays resident, will be held at Boardy Barn in Hampton Bays from 6 to 10 p.m.
“We’re trying to raise awareness to get as many people there as possible. Matthew is looking to buy a handicap accessible vans and they are extremely expensive. They’re anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000. So, that is one of our goals of this event,” Jonathan Raynor, Matt’s brother, who is co-organizing the event, told Hamptons.com. “And the other one is trying to get him outpatient therapies and maybe some stem cell therapies. The GoFundMe has done pretty well, and we greatly appreciate all of those who have donated.”
What will the benefit feature?
JR: There’s going to be a Chinese auction, there’s going be a band playing, Souliztik. There’s going to be barbecue food, a clam bar provided by Ed Warner, who’s a Town Trustee and old family friend. There’s going to be sides provided by Justin’s Chop Shop, which is a Westhampton Beach business. My fiancé Victoria is good buddies with him. We’re hoping that Matt can get to the event. If we get him transportation and he’s feeling up to it, of course.
The Chinese auction – we’re definitely looking for any last minute donations. We have quite a bit. We’re going to put some baskets together, but if anyone has anything that could be raffled off, that would be huge.
How is your brother’s recovery going?
JR: He’s doing alright. He’s kind of prone to getting infections. Home PT and OT has been pretty lackluster, unfortunately. Nothing can compare to what he was getting at Mount Sinai, it was four hours a day. He’s not really getting what he needs. Unfortunately, he’s starting to get atrophy more. But for the most part, he’s in pretty good spirits, unless he’s got a bad infection or something along those lines. It’s been definitely tough for him and my mother’s doing 24-hour care for him. She’s gotta wake up every couple hours and turn him and empty his catheter. It’s a lot of work. My mom’s a nurse practitioner, she’s been doing it for 33 years, but when it’s your own son, it’s I think it’s a different story. If you get the skilled nursing, it’s really expensive to have them there for like four or five hours. My mom only really needs it, help, in the mornings to kind of get him going through his routines and all that stuff.
And besides financial assistance, is there any other ways that the community can assist?
JR: They certainly have. Heart of the Hamptons has been instrumental, actually. They got my mom an electric hoyer lift and they’re getting him a hospital bed and they got him a new mattress. The electric hoyer life they got him was a game changer for my mother. She’s 4′ 11″, Matt’s 6′. The mechanical one that they had didn’t have enough clearance to get him onto the bed. So this one that they got donated for us goes off with the touch of a button four/five inches higher than the other one. It’s really helped my mom and Matt’s girlfriend, Jackie Maloney, tremendously because they’re primarily the people that put him into the bed.
The community has really rallied around Matt, like his friend, Matthew Forrest, he’s a general contractor. Matthew Forrest came in and put a bathroom into my parent’s house. They extended the bathroom 4 feet, so it’s accessible for my brother. Victoria’s cousin is an architect. He designs train stations and projects like that, so he understands the handicap ADA specifications, so he spec’d it out and drew up the architectural plans. Matthew Forrest got all the materials and got all the workers and they built this bathroom in two weeks. The day it was done, I was in there wiping down the tile, and it was the day Matt came home from Mount Sinai. It was crazy, down to the last second. A lot of people came to volunteer their time as they could. It was really, really awesome, great to see the community come together like that. I don’t even know how to begin to repay them. It’s just really awesome.
Jackie, Matt’s girlfriend, who is an artist, is donating the proceeds from Clams in Orange Basket to the recovery efforts. Will that be available to purchase at the benefit?
Do you have a financial goal set for the benefit?
JR: It would be great to make $100,000 because the van is $50,000. I mean, to be honest with you, my brother will need millions of dollars to get the care he really needs. He needs to go to in patient acute rehab for six months to a year to maybe even move his hands again. And that’s at $5,500 a day. It’s crazy. Probably $100,000 is unrealistic, but you never know. And, you know, Matt was a local commercial fisherman and a beloved guy around town, so who knows. We greatly appreciate the Boardy Barn for opening their doors to us to allow our event to take place there.
What are the next steps for Matt’s recovery?
JR: Definitely the van so he can get out of the house. That would be huge. Because he’s stir crazy, as you can imagine. Then, we would like to get him into outpatient therapy, we would like to do the stem cell therapies. He’s currently on a waiting list for the Mayo Clinic. We did some research on other facilities and determined that Mayo Clinic is probably the right place to go and they’re on the cutting edge of spinal injury recovery technology.
Admission to Get Matty Ray Back on the Bay Fundraiser is $25. For those unable to attend, you can donate at www.gofundme.com.
Boardy Barn is located at 270 West Montauk Highway in Hampton Bays. For more information, visit www.facebook.com.