Matthew Nicholas Bates, born July 14, 2011, faced a significant challenge in his brief life: Myelomeningocele Spina Bifida.
He was only seven months old, but was a happy baby despite a serious condition that sent him and his parents, John and Jennifer Bates of Coventry, to Boston Children's Hospital for many operations, his father said.
"It's the worst case of Spina Bifida that there is," John said. Matthew's spinal cord was exposed when he was born.
The couple found out about Matthew's condition when Jennifer was 7 months pregnant, John said, but it was worse than doctors thought. Matthew had surgery at 18 hours old, on his back. Within three weeks he had multiple head surgeries to prevent encephalitis. John said his son was strong and happy, even so. But on Sunday night, he passed away as his parents were marshaling their resources to help him fight the condition.
John said the fundraiser is still on. There are more than 100 raffle tickets sold, and any funds raised will now pay for Matthew's funeral services as well as medical bills. The fundraiser will be at the West Warwick Senior Center, 145 Washington St., from 4:30 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 per person.
The facebook page for the Pasta Benefit Dinner directs people interested in helping the family to donate to The Matthew Bates Fund.
Donations (Make checks payable to Matthew Bates) can be addressed to:
The Matthew Bates Fund
care of- Jane Langevin
P.O. Box 7263 Warwick R.I., 02887