At AIL/NILCO, We Take Care of Our Own: The Friends of Matt Ficarra Fund
On July 30, 2011, Matt Ficarra’s morning began like any other. The 28-year-old General Agent in NILICO’s Oldham-Bianchi Agency sold a policy to a family in LaFayette, New York, drove six miles up the road to help a client in Nedrow, then followed up with a half-hour drive to Central Square, where he enrolled another family in his last appointment of the day. He then met with friends at Oneida Lake, New York’s largest lake and popular boating spot, where his life changed forever.
He and his buddies took turns jumping off the boat into the lake until Matt decided it was time for one last jump. Whatever the reason – high wakes from passing boats or a shallow trough – Matt landed directly on his head, breaking his neck and damaging his spinal cord between the C6 and C7 vertebrae just above the shoulders. The next day, following surgery, in which his spine was secured by a plate and four screws, Matt was told he’d likely be paralyzed from the upper chest down.
In the months following, while Matt was undergoing intensive rehabilitation at the Shepherd Center, a spine and brain injury treatment center in Atlanta, his friends and family established Friends of Matt Ficarra, a volunteer group dedicated to supporting him in his recovery.
With his time at the Shepherd Center complete, the group’s goal has shifted from funding his primary rehabilitation in Atlanta to funding his travels to the Stem Cell Institute, a state-of-the-art medical facility in Panama City, where he can receive surgery with the potential to greatly improve his quality of life, help him regain function, and the potential to possibly walk again.
Show Matt and all those who care for him that at American Income and National Income Life, we take care of our own – click here to donate to the Friends of Matt Ficarra fund and help Matt improve the quality of his life.
On behalf of Durhon Oldham, Jim Bianchi, Scott Smith, Roger Smith and, of course, Matt, thanks to everyone participating!