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Foundation Assists CT Family

Athol Daily News
August 5, 2010

ATHOL -- A Woodbury, Conn., family affected by epilepsy has received financial help to assist with paying hospital bills, along with other aid and support, from The Tyler Foundation, which was established by Heather and Erik Plotkin, formerly of Athol.

Nora Blackman was born in August 2008 in Danbury, Conn., and suffered from seizures that eventually required major brain surgery, known as a hemispherectomy, to control. The Tyler Foundation provided information, emotional support and financial assistance to the Blackman family and continues to do so for families all over the country, whose children are being treated for epilepsy in Children's Hospital Boston and at UMass Memorial Children's Medical Center in Worcester.

After three weeks in a local Connecticut hospital's NICU, Nora was transferred to Children's Hospital Boston and there she was diagnosed with cortical dysplasia, a malformation of the brain, which was causing her uncontrollable seizures. She underwent her first brain surgery at five-months-old and her second at 14-months-old, both in taking place in Boston. The result was a complete functional hemispherectomy which disconnected Nora's left brain so she now only utilizes her right brain.

The Plotkins established the Foundation after their own son, Tyler, now 6, had to undergo this same surgery at 15-months-old to control his seizures and they came to understand how difficult and draining the process is for families to to go through.

"The Tyler Foundation's mission is to provide financial support to families of children with epilepsy," said Heather recently, "and we are always looking for new families to help, as well as donations from the community to achieve our mission. Our annual fundraising dinner is coming up in November and our goal is to raise more than $20,000 to help families just like the Blackmans." Nora's mother, Tracey Blackman had this to say, "Not only have the founders of the foundation, Heather and Erik Plotkin, served as an intellectual resource for us regarding surgery and seizures, they also came through big-time for us both times during our hospital stays with gift cards and hospital parking passes, when Nora had her surgeries.

"In addition, they helped us pay off a $2,400 hospital bill, and for that we are eternally grateful. The Plotkins are angels and their foundation is one that deserves to be recognized and supported. They are people, just like you and me, and they're simply helping others at a time of great need."

For more information on the Foundation, log onto www.tylerfoundation.org. Donations can be mailed directly to the Foundation at: The Tyler Foundation Inc.; P.O. Box 733; Groton, Mass. 01450. All donations are tax deductible.