Last month, the Life Raft Group took a giant step towards launching the Mike Matthews Legacy Society and planned giving program. Ray Montague, a dedicated Board Member and Treasurer of the Life Raft Group, pledged an incredible $100,000 bequest in memory of his son, Jonathan, in an effort to jumpstart the program.
Ray joined the LRG in December of 2002 after Jonathan lost his battle to pediatric GIST earlier that year. Since joining, Ray’s commitment and support in the struggle to find a cure has been unyielding. In 2007, Ray joined the LRG Board of Directors, giving him the opportunity to broaden the range of his involvement. Of particular importance is the role he plays in promoting numerous pediatric GIST initiatives. These efforts include sponsoring two National Institute of Health (NIH) dinners as well as hosting a pediatric GIST family weekend. His most recent decision to support our planned giving program will enable GIST patients to receive expert care in the future while preserving Jonathan’s memory.
Planned Giving is a method of supporting organizations and/or charities that gives the individual a variety of choices when considering estate planning. Planned gifts are beneficial to the donor because they allow the individual to make larger gifts than they normally would be able to while still meeting their current economic needs. The establishment of a planned giving program will allow the Life Raft Group to engage in long-term financial planning knowing that resources will be available in the future.
The LRG Planned Giving Program was named in honor of Mike Matthews, a Life Raft Group founding member and GIST patient whose story has been a source of inspiration not only for the Life Raft Group, but for cancer patients everywhere. Mike was devoted to his family, a respected man in his community, and a loving friend.
Mike passed away in 2004 while waiting for a trial that would not come in time. His friends at Purcells Cove Social Club decided to throw him a “Going Away” Party. At this party, Mike asked his wife to dance; everyone in the room knew it was their last. LRG Executive Director, Norman Scherzer was present for this solemn and touching moment and pledged that the LRG would not rest until we live in a world where no man had to ask his wife for one last dance. The Life Raft Group chose to honor Mike’s memory and the lives of all those who have lost their battle to GIST by establishing this fund and ensuring that their legacy will live on.
To learn more about the Mike Matthews Legacy Society and planned giving please call Christine Schaumburg, the Life Raft Group’s Director of Development, at 973-837- 9092 x116.
You can also read more about Mike’s story in the July 2004 issue of the LRG newsletter.