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Oyster Bay student's journey through loss leads to scholarship award

Oyster Bay High School freshman Matthew Carlinsky will

Oyster Bay High School freshman Matthew Carlinsky will receive a $500 award from the Family Lives on Foundation, which he got involved with after his mother, Lisa, died when he was 4. Credit: Oyster Bay-East Norwich School District / Felicia Febrizio

An Oyster Bay student whose mother died when he was a child has been selected to receive a $500 award from the nonprofit that helped him cope with her loss.

Matthew Carlinsky, 14, a freshman at Oyster Bay High School, became involved with the Family Lives On Foundation shortly after his mother, Lisa, died of non-smokers lung cancer when he was 4 years old.

The foundation, which supports children who have lost a parent, has annually provided him with supplies so he and his father can bake cookies or cupcakes in his mother's memory around her birthday in March. The tradition of baking was important to his mother, Carlinsky said.

To give back to the foundation, Carlinsky and his school's National Junior Honor Society hosted a fundraiser last school year that raised $4,425 through raffles of gift baskets, which included donated items such as candy, gift certificates and DVDs.

"The [foundation's] Traditions Program definitely helped me cope with the loss," Carlinsky said. "I ran this fundraiser because I wanted everyone to know about this organization and how valuable it is."

The $500 award, the "1997 Scholarship Award," can be used for academic purposes and is given to a youngster who exemplifies the foundation's goal of post-traumatic growth and resilience.

Carlinsky will receive the award at the foundation's Traditions Ball in December.

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