Benefit on Saturday will assist Albion man awaiting heart and liver transplants

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 January 2018 at 4:57 pm

Provided photo: Matt Grammatico is pictured with his wife, Rhonda.

CARLTON – A dinner with more than 100 gift baskets and other items up for auction on Saturday will raise money for an Albion man who needs a heart and liver transplant.

Volunteers are prepared to make 1,000 spaghetti dinners on Saturday during a benefit from 2 to 7 p.m. at the Carlton Rec Hall.

Matt Grammatico, 44, is awaiting a heart and liver transplant. He owns an auto repair shop in Hamlin. He opened MPG Automotive last year. His wife Rhonda is a long-time lunchroom monitor at Albion Central School. Their son, Nate, is a junior at Albion and is heavily involved in the music and theater programs.

Many of Nate’s classmates will be performing during the benefit on Saturday.

“The kids have really stepped forward to support Nate and his family,” Seielstad said. “It’s amazing. I’m getting choked up just thinking about it.”

Seielstad said the Grammatico family is very giving, always quick to respond to help others.

“They have touched the lives of people far and wide,” Seielstad said. “They’re the kind of people that when somebody needs something they’re the first to say, ‘How can I help you?’”

Matt is the son of Mike Grammatico, a retired Albion music teacher. Matt grew up in the Barker school district.

Matt was born with a serious heart condition called Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome. He underwent his first operation at 6 weeks old, followed by an open-heart reconstructive surgery when he was 11. Matt also needed multiple procedures and surgeries throughout the next 30 years of his life.

During one of the surgeries as a child, Matt was unknowingly given a Hepatitis C tainted blood transfusion. The virus attacked his liver, undiscovered, for more than 20 years, further complicating his health. He has been diagnosed with end-stage liver disease.

Photo by Tom Rivers: Retired Albion instrumental teacher Mike Grammatico plays in a saxophone duet with his grandson Nate Grammatico during a concert on Jan. 30, 2015. Nate and many of his classmates, as well as music teachers, will be performing during Saturday’s benefit for Nate’s father.

Matt and his doctors in Rochester and at the Cleveland Clinic are working to keep him stable and prepare him for a heart and liver transplant. While Matt waits for the transplant, he is struggling to perform everyday activities and to keep the auto business going. The family faces significant medical expenses as well as the loss of income while Matt is unable to work.

Event organizers are hoping the fundraiser will help sustain the family until Matt receives his transplant.

“We are giving it all we have – the rest is up to a higher power,” Seielstad said.

The benefit on Saturday will give the family funding for trips to Cleveland Clinic for extended stays; costly medicines and medical bills; and some current living expenses because Matt sometimes can’t work due to health issues.

Seielstad said many in the Albion community will be volunteering at the dinner. Matt Moore is heading the cooking effort and Karen Krieger is organizing the team of volunteers.

There are about 100 baskets to be auctioned off, and 10 other items will go to the highest bidder in a silent auction. Some of those items include an iPad Mini, Sabres tickets, golf packages, custom end tables, a kayak and a quilt.

Dinner tickets are available at the door or at Bloom’s Flower Shop and Snell Realtors. Donations can dropped off at Seielstad’s home at 302 W. Park St., Albion, or through Pay Pal (click here).

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