BLUE POINT, N.Y. (CBS 2) — Two young sisters are helping to raise money for a seven-year-old friend in Suffolk County after she was diagnosed with a rare, incurable disease. As CBS 2’s Wendy Gillette reports, the girls were inspired to give back to the community after suffering a tragic loss of their own.
A balloon flying in front of the Conroy house is the first sign of something special. Then you see a front porch packed with neighbors and friends, a fishbowl full of cash and a raffle for gift baskets doing a brisk business.
It’s all a part of the fundraisers being held for Maddy Coffey, hospitalized in Westchester County after a June diagnosis of juvenile dermatomyositis (JDMS), a serious muscle and skin disease. The event has become a Tuesday afternoon tradition.
All of the items being raffled off were donated by local businesses and families – there’s movie tickets, an iPhone clock radio, even a lottery tree.
The diagnosis hit the family hard, and it’s been a tough summer for the Coffeys, including Maddy’s 10-year-old sister, Erin.
“It’s really upsetting because I don’t get to see my family a lot, that much,” she said.
Lifelong family friends, Caitlyn Conroy, 9 and Lyndsay Conroy, 12, came up with the idea of helping out the family that has become burdened by substantial travel and hotel bills.
“I feel real happy,” Caitlyn Conroy said. “Because we can help them a lot.”
They were inspired after suffering a tragic loss of their own last year, when their father Michael Conroy had a heart attack and died at the age of 38. The community banded together to help their family.
Now, they say, it’s their turn to help out.
“Everybody did it for us last year when my dad passed away,” said Lyndsay. “So it feels good to give back.”
The girls and their friends have already raised $5000 and are now donating money to the families of other sick children in the area.
If all goes well, Maddy could come home from the hospital in November.
Maddy’s father, Kevin Coffey, tells CBS 2 he is extremely grateful for the outpouring of support from the community.