Way to Go: Matthew Abbatiello, Holtsville

Matthew Abbatiello of Waverly Park Elementary School has Matthew Abbatiello of Waverly Park Elementary School has been named 2012 Boy of the Year by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Long Island Chapter. Photo Credit: handout

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Matthew Abbatiello has been named 2012 Boy of the Year by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Long Island Chapter.

The third-grader at Waverly Avenue Elementary School in Holtsville was selected based on his difficult battle over the past two years with mixed-lineage leukemia, which required him to have a bone-marrow transplant last year. His donor was his older sister Nicole, 12.

The distinction comes in conjunction with the Long Island Chapter's 2012 Man & Woman of the Year Campaign, in which candidates are committed to generating a minimum of $20,000 over a 10-week period.

"This is meant to remind candidates of what they are striving for as they raise money," Matthew's mother, Debbie, said of her son's selection. She said she initially connected with the chapter when Matthew was diagnosed in 2010.

"When your child is diagnosed, you're devastated," she said. "It was a very long battle, but he's been very positive."

Matthew, 8, is currently off treatment, his mother said. She added that her family has twice participated in the chapter's Light The Night Walk, having raised $11,000 in their first year.

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