2023 State of Robbinsville Township/
Pay it Forward Beneficiary
The McLaughlin Family
The recipient for the eighth rendition of Robbinsville Township Mayor Dave Fried's groundbreaking "Pay it Forward" initiative has been announced.
The McLaughlin family – Karen, Bruce, Nico and Mikayla - are longtime members of the Robbinsville community and have been selected as the beneficiaries for the May 16, 2023 State of Robbinsville Township Address/Pay it Forward event at The Stone Terrace by John Henry’s.
Nico McLaughlin’s life-long battle with Evans Syndrome, which afflicts less than 1,000 people in the world, has been well documented in our community for close to a decade.
Evans syndrome is an extremely rare blood and auto-immune disease in which the body's immune system produces antibodies that mistakenly destroy red blood cells, platelets and sometimes certain white blood cells known as neutrophils. This leads to abnormally low levels of these blood cells in the body (cytopenia). Any cuts, colds or bleeds can be very dangerous. Nico, now 11 and a student at Pond Road Middle School, was hospitalized at six weeks old and spent a great deal of time in the hospital, but doctors kept saying he had a virus, or a cold-like infection.
Evans was not found to be the cause until a few years later, when Karen found a black dot on his leg and he began having unstoppable bleeding episodes. Prior to that diagnosis, everything from Leukemia, to blood cancer, to a bone marrow disorder was on the table. Nonetheless, Nico is treated at the Rutgers Cancer Institute in New Brunswick, NJ.
“Because Nico has a rare illness that wasn't diagnosed as cancer, we struggled to get any assistance and fitting in has always been a challenge," Karen said. "We have made it our mission that not only will this illness not destroy Nico, but it will also not define him. We seek to help anyone who needs support to help them not feel alone.”
Recently Mikayla, who suffers from Crohn’s/colitis, had a colon resection. Even more recently, it was learned Bruce needs a liver transplant. The family’s car also has been rendered inoperable. The McLaughlin’s and other organizations are actively looking for a live donor match for his O (positive or negative) blood type.
Funds are now being solicited for the McLaughlin Family for this year’s "Pay it Forward" through C.A.R.E., the Township’s 501c3 charitable arm, as we join together to try and help this wonderful family through this very trying time.
Past Pay it Forward recipients include the Shepherd Family, Quilts for Comfort, Deborah Dauer, C.A.R.E., Mercer Street Friends Food Bank, the We Love Our R'ville Neighbors campaign and the Breden Family, the latter in conjunction with Little Angels Service Dogs. Since 2015, those efforts have raised over $400,000.
Fundraising for this effort is now open and corporate sponsorships levels of $25,000, $10,000, $5,000, $2,500, $500 and $250 are available (see flyer). Individual tickets are $125, and $1,000 for a table of 10.
Please make checks payable to C.A.R.E. and send to: Jodi Stephens/Robbinsville Township Administration at 2298 Route 33, Robbinsville, NJ 08691. Please write "2023 Pay it Forward" in the check notes. To donate via PayPal, CLICK HERE.