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Goalie in Bergen All-Star benefit may help get toddler new kidney

Photo Credit: The Scimeca Family
Photo Credit: The Scimeca Family
Photo Credit: The Scimeca Family

YOU CAN HELP: Every time Sean McCann blocked a shot this season, he wasn’t doing it just for Park Ridge High School – he’s also helping raise money for a life-saving kidney transplant for a 17-month-old boy who has captured hearts throughout North Jersey. Now comes Sean’s final high school match, a county all-star game from which all proceeds go to little Gavin Scimeca.

Sean McCann, Gavin Scimeca (COURTESY: Michael McCann)

Tickets to the Bergen County Soccer Coaches All Star Showcase at River Dell High School are $7 for adults and $5 for students. It starts at 7 p.m. this Wednesday, Nov. 23.

Sean told CLIFFVIEW PILOT he has raised more than $21,000, in part through pledges of $40.10 for every blocked shot in his “Saves For Gavin” campaign .

“I never expected the success the fundraiser would have,” Sean said this morning. “In the beginning the goal was between $5,000 and $10,000, but, with this week’s game, it could possibly reach over $25,000.

Bergen County volunteers, including Sean, have pledged to raise the family’s $150,000 out-of-pocket cost toward a transplant that d octors at New York Presbyterian Hospital say Gavin needs to survive. They recently broke $132,000, so a huge turnout — or donations — for Wednesday’s game will be significant.

“I want to thank my coach for having me selected for the game and offering to make it a fundraiser,” Sean told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “ It is just amazing to think how this just started out as a simple idea, and now it is a huge success. I am still in shock. I could have never imagined I’d be able to do this for someone.”

His father could have.

PHOTOS Courtesy: The Scimeca Family

“He is a great kid and I am very proud of what he is doing and has done in his young life,” River Vale Chief Michael McCann told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “He has been working tirelessly on this.”

The chief is the link between his son and the Scimeca family: Gavin’s dad, Anthony, is a River Vale officer.

Anthony and Tara Scimeca’s boy was born June 4, 2010 with Autosomal Recessive Polycystic Kidney Disease (ARPKD).

“This kid deserves to live a healthy life,” said Sean, who will likely be attending Mount St.Mary’s University in Maryland next year. “We really appreciate these donations.”

Countless businesses and individuals have contributed to the campaign for Gavin.

There’s also assistance from the Children’s Organ Transplant Association , a 25-year-old national charity dedicated to organizing and guiding communities in raising funds for transplant-needy patients (COTA’s services are completely free of charge, and 100% of the funds generated by its campaigns go directly to transplant-related expenses).

Park Ridge High School finished with an 8-8-2 record, losing to Wallington in the state tournament.

Sean, meanwhile, finished with 172 saves. He was named the Wendy’s Heisman award winner for Park Ridge and was one of 10 state finalists for New Jersey.

“The success of the fundraiser has made me so greatful and appreciative,” Sean told CLIFFVIEW PILOT this morning. “I cannot thank everyone who donated enough. Without their support, this would have never happened.”

Still, there’s much more to do – and not a lot of time to do it — before the community can help the Scimecas, and little Gavin, reach the goal.

That’s where YOU come in.

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