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Computer equipment given to NA's Martin School in memory of former student - The Sun Chronicle : Local News

Computer equipment given to NA's Martin School in memory of former student

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Posted: Friday, May 13, 2011 12:00 am

NORTH ATTLEBORO - Students at the Joseph W. Martin School have new technology at their fingertips, thanks to a foundation created in memory of a former student.

The Meghan K. Duffy Memorial Foundation has donated about $10,000 in computer equipment to the school since Meghan lost her battle with osteosarcoma in September 2007 at the age of 11. New equipment includes a whiteboard for the library, LDC projectors and 30 AlphaSmart word processors.

For Meghan's parents, Frank and Colleen Duffy, the foundation is a labor of love: It funds projects that were important to Meghan herself.

"Meghan loved Martin School. She loved being here, she loved her friends, she loved her teachers and she loved the whole environment here," Colleen Duffy said. "When Meghan passed away, we came up with a few things to do that would best represent how we wanted to memorialize her.

"We knew we wanted to continue our relationship with Martin School, so I met with (Principal Michael) Luce to talk about the best use of any funding we could provide."

Technology became an instant choice. When Meghan was hospitalized, she liked nothing more than hearing from her friends at Martin School, who would type out messages while visiting the school's computer lab.

"She always knew what was going on in her classroom. Even though she was ill, the kids accepted her without missing a beat," Duffy said.

Luce said Meghan's fellow students, who are in high school now, rallied behind her as she approached her illness with humor and courage.

"After losing her leg and going through chemotherapy, she still wanted to come to school and be with her friends. She was a very special kid, and I think about her a lot," Luce said. "She was an avid, avid reader. I think she read every book in our library - twice."

As a result, the school dedicated the library in Meghan's honor and its top shelves are lined with watercolor paintings she completed during her hospital stays.

Technology isn't the only way the memorial foundation is making a difference. The foundation is committed to easing the the financial burden for families whose children are receiving cancer treatment.

It also helps fund a Christmas dinner at Children's Hospital in Boston for families with children who are diagnosed with cancer.

Meghan also loved to dance, so the foundation funds a college scholarship for New England Dance Academy students, and she loved to ski, so the foundation donated a mono-ski, which allows people in wheelchairs to ski, to the Ability Plus adaptive ski program at Attitash Mountain New Hampshire.

The foundation is now planning to host a golf tournament as a fundraiser with a goal of raising $10,000 to provide four $2,500 college scholarships for members of the Class of 2014, the year that Meghan would have graduated high school.

The golf tournament will be held July 18 at Highland Country Club in Attleboro. It will cost $125 per golfer or $475 for a foursome.

Information about the tournament will be posted on the foundation's website shortly and the organization is still looking for corporate sponsors interested in helping out.

In addition, Duffys plan to host the fifth annual and final Pedal Power Kids Ride this year.

Pedal Power, a five-mile bike ride through Lindsey Acres, raised money to support the Pan Mass Challenge and to fund pediatric cancer research programs of the Jimmy Fund and Boston Children's Hospital.

That fundraiser was started by Meghan, herself.

This year's event, will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on June 26. It is open to riders of all ages and begins and ends in the Duffys' yard at 185 Deborah Road.

Details about the ride will be available soon at http://meghanspedalpower.com">meghanspedalpower.com and questions can be directed to Duffy at cduffy727@aol.com.

To make a donation or learn more about the Meghan K. Duffy Memorial Foundation, visit http://www.meghankduffyfoundation.org">www.meghankduffyfoundation.org.

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