Racers Long Standing Tradition Helps Matheny School at Christmas – DTD Exclusive

By MIKE MALLETT

If there is one thing racing people are always good at, it’s giving back.

That’s the case with a dedicated group of individuals who support the Matheny School and Hospital. For the past 35 years this group has assisted with making Christmas special for those at the facility that may not have family to do that for them.

The school, located in Peapack, NJ, is home to 101 children and adults with developmental disabilities. The school is described by their website as, “a special hospital for children and adults with medically complex developmental disabilities . . . a special education school providing academics, combined with functional life skills, for students, ages 3-21 . . . and a comprehensive outpatient center meeting the health care needs of people with all types of disabilities in the community. Matheny also trains healthcare professionals, therapists and educators in how to work effectively with persons who have developmental disabilities.”

They deal with a plethora of different disabilities. “A great majority of Matheny patients have cerebral palsy as their primary diagnoses, Matheny also has patients with spina bifida, Lesch-Nyhan Disease (LND) and a wide range of uncommon conditions including Rett syndrome, Angelman syndrome, Cornelia De Lange syndrome, Wolf-Hirshorn syndrome and 4Q Deletion syndrome. Lesch-Nyhan Disease is a rare x-linked recessive disorder associated with cognitive impairment, high levels of uric acid in the blood, kidney involvement and the hallmark symptom — severe and involuntary self-injurious behaviors. Matheny is recognized as the leading source of information on care issues regarding LND.”




Kevin Eyres, former racer at Wall Stadium Speedway and a five-time Sportsman division champion, leads the group. Dirt racing fans will know Eyres as a formidable member of multi-time Super DIRT Week winner Stewart Friesen’s Halmar race team.

For Eyres and others in the group it is about doing their part. That’s why they keep helping year after year.

“We have a lot of different people that want to give back,” said Eyres. “We get a list of students and we adopt them for Christmas. We get a wish list, so whatever they wish for, we try to get within 99% of being able to get them what they want. Some want an iPad or others want clothing and different things because they can’t shop. We provide for their needs. We also take donations and buy expensive electronics. That’s where the donations come in. We make sure all of the students in need are adopted.

“We’ve got a good mix of mostly asphalt people that donate now. This used to be a dirt community thing, but when I got involved, I didn’t know enough dirt people so it’s become mostly asphalt, but there’s a mix of everybody. It has a lot of fans, a lot of drivers, and a lot of families. We have a mix of everybody that’s involved in racing.”

Prior to COVID-19, Eyres and company held a yearly Christmas party at the facility, but with restrictions in place that just can’t happen this year. As a result, the gifts will be given to the individuals on Christmas Day by the Matheny staff.

“Unfortunately, we won’t be able to have the party again this year because of COVID,” said Eyres. “It’s what is best for the individuals as they are at high risk. The party is very emotional, but it’s just seeing how good and happy the students are there. You know what we are doing means a lot to them.”

Eyres indicated that every little bit helps them meet their yearly goal to take care of all the students at the facility. Every donation goes to the students at the facility to make sure they have a special Christmas day.

For those looking to make a donation, information is located below to make a charitable donation through RJC Charities or you can contact Eyres directly for information.

Tax Free Checks or gift cards can be sent to:

RJC Charities

70 Albert Drive

Parlin, NJ, 08859

Attn: Bob Caramella (Please Note: Matheny School Party in the memo line.)

(RJC will return a tax exempt voucher to you if requested – (Please provide a mailing address where to send the voucher.)

Donations via Paypal can be made through a link on the RJC Charities Website: http://www.rjccharities.com/Blank.html http://www.rjccharities.com/ (RJC will return a tax exempt voucher to you if requested – (Please provide a mailing address where to send the voucher.)

Non Tax Free Checks or gift cards to be used for the purchase of gifts for the students can also be mailed to:

Kevin Eyres

144 Mercer Rd

Colts Neck, NJ 07722

For more information you can email him at: kjeyres2@aol.com