Tag Archives: Mat jacowleff

To Evan: A Heart Full Of Love

This is one of the greatest videos I’ve ever posted.

But before you watch, be warned: Get some Kleenex.

In 2017, “06880” reported on the great work of Mat Jacowleff. The 2015 Staples High School graduate — then a Northeastern University junior — encouraged dozens of his Delta Tau Delta fraternity brothers to donate hundreds of pints of blood to Boston Children’s Hospital.

Evan Sheiber

He was inspired by Evan Sheiber, a Westport boy born with only one pumping chamber in his heart. Mat then went an extra several miles, delivering over 100 cards of encouragement to Evan as he prepared for his 2nd open heart surgery.

Evan is now almost 3. Once again, he faces open heart surgery. This one’s on Tuesday.

This time, Mat made a video for Evan.

And he didn’t just say, “I’m rooting for you, kid.”

Mat filmed dozens of folks cheering Evan on. His fraternity brothers are here. So are sorority sisters, Northeastern hockey players, Staples football players, Coast Guard Academy lacrosse men and Middlebury College lacrosse women.

There’s also a nice shout out from the folks at Boston Children’s Hospital, who run the “I Give Pints for Half-Pints” blood donor campaign.

Interspersed throughout are images of Evan himself. It’s just the thing a 4-year-old will love.

His parents love it too. Evan’s mom Britt says, “I have never sobbed and laughed simultaneously before in my life. Evan and his siblings keep watching it on repeat. This means so much to him.”

It’s 3 minutes of pure joy. Click below — and have that Kleenex handy.

PS: Speaking of joy: JoyRide Westport recently sponsored their 3rd annual Cycle for Heart fundraiser. Like Mat Jacowleff, they’re all heart.

Click here to learn more about the FORCE Fund (formerly known as Evan’s Heart Fund), which directly impacts the lives of everyone like Evan living with a single ventricle.

Mat Jacowleff’s Pints: The Sequel

Last month, “06880” shined a spotlight on Mat Jacowleff. The 2015 Staples High School graduate — now a Northeastern University junior — has encouraged dozens of his Delta Tau Delta fraternity brothers to donate hundreds of pints of blood to Boston Children’s Hospital.

But that’s hardly the end of the story.

Evan Sheiber is a young boy born with only 1 pumping chamber in his heart. Like Mat, he too is a Westporter.

Evan had a blood transfusion during open heart surgery a year ago. He’ll need another in his next operation. When Evan’s mom Britt saw the “06880” story, she posted a thank-you on Mat’s Facebook page. (Like Mat too, Evan was featured on “06880,” last spring.)

Evan is also the star of an inspiring video, produced this past summer by Boston Children’s Hospital.

The video inspired Mat and his fellow blood donors to write cards to Evan.

Last week, Mat delivered them.

There were over 100. All, Britt says, were “incredibly thoughtful and sweet.”

A few of Evan’s many cards.

One young man wrote: “Hey Evan. I’m a student at Northeastern. Just wanted to say I’m rooting for you buddy. Thank you for showing me what courage is. Much love buddy. Chris Li. ”

Another said, “Dear Evan, You are an inspiration to all the brothers at Northeastern in Delta Tau Delta. Keep Fighting. “

A third read, “Surf’s Up. Ride the wave to greatness.”

And this: “ While we’ve never met in person, you’ve left a lasting impact on me. You inspire me to give back and help every day.”

Britt read each one to her son. He’s only 1 1/2 — not yet old enough to fully understand the words — but he loved the colorful drawings.

Evan enjoys his cards.

Britt put them in Evan’s safe-keeping box. She’ll read them to him again, when he is 3 or 4 — before his next open heart surgery.

“I know they will encourage him to be brave, and to fight. Some will make him laugh,” she says.

“I am deeply touched by these college students. This is such a selfless act. These college students took time away from their crazy schedules to write thoughtful notes to my heart warrior, my son Evan.”

Britt and her husband Brett (!) have 3 boys (including Evan’s twin James), and 1 daughter.

She will be “incredibly proud” if her 4 children grow up to be the kind of fine young adults who give back to their communities.

You know — just like those inspired by her and Evan’s fellow Westporter, Mat Jacowleff.

Mat Jacowleff’s Pints

Mat Jacowleff hates needles.

But his desire to help people is stronger than that fear.

The 2015 Staples High School graduate is a junior business major at Northeastern University. He’s also community service chair at his fraternity, Delta Tau Delta.

When he saw a “Give Pints for Half Pints” sign at Boston Children’s Hospital, his next project was born.

Within days, he pitched a blood donor idea to his 100 brothers. Dozens responded.

Mat jacowleff (right) and a fraternity brother, with a commendation from Boston Children’s Hospital.

Mat was especially touched by a friend who approached him after the meeting. He said his younger sister had a disease that required frequent hospital stays — at Boston Children’s.

“Having someone I personally know say that to me really put things into perspective,” Mat explains. “It’s hard to imagine how much of an impact one donation can make if you don’t need it, or someone you love doesn’t need it. Having someone bridge that gap made me even more determined to make this event happen.”

The hospital responded as enthusiastically as Mat and his frat brothers have. The first day, the donors got pizza — in a room decorated in Northeastern’s black and red colors.

They were excited — and told the rest of the house. The next night. 20 more guys showed up.

“The best part is watching the impact this has had on my friends,” Mat says. “They come in hesitant and nervous. But they walk out with the biggest smiles on their faces, and they’re ready to book their next appointment.”

A hospital rep is impressed. “Planting the seed for long-term donation is key,” says donor recruitment team member Cynthia MacKinlay.

“People come once and they feel great. But once they come 2, 3 and 4 times, it becomes a habit.”

Mat continues to recruit donors. Already, another fraternity and one sorority have set up donation nights.

“If you are in a position of influence — as small as it may be — and you arent’ using it to make an impact, it’s a waste,” Mat says.

“I’m hoping this goes big. If donating blood becomes a trend at Northeastern, then it can spread to other schools in Boston and so on. There’s really no limit.”

(Hat tip: Gaetana Deiso. To read a fuller story from Boston Children’s Hospital’s blog, click here.)