Matthew Badger: A Champion for All Dyslexics
February 16, 2017
It is with profound sadness we share with you the passing of Matthew Badger, a great champion for all who are dyslexic or care for children with dyslexia. Although you may have heard of Matthew from reading about him in newspapers, we were fortunate to get to know him on a more personal level through a mutual friend, Beth Ravelli.
Matthew was the father of three wonderful young girls, Lily (Lilian) and twins, Sarah and Grace, all of whom tragically perished in a 2011 Christmas fire that consumed their Stamford, Conn. home. Both Lily and Grace were dyslexic like their dad. It is difficult, if not impossible, to imagine how a dad responds to such a devastating tragedy. Our good friend, Beth described Matthew’s relationship to his girls best: “Everything Matthew did was related to his girls.” The girls struggled in school and he and their mother “encouraged them to learn through arts and imagination.” Matthew, a former film director, established the LilySarahGrace Fund to honor his girls and to bring arts and creativity to classrooms everywhere.
As often is the case, he learned of his dyslexia through his daughters’ diagnosis. He became an unsung champion of dyslexia in every way imaginable – whether going to the statehouse to help support dyslexia legislation or film testimony, including Beth’s daughter Sammie testifying before the state Senate or Assembly. Says Beth: “He worked quietly, never expecting anything in return. His hope was to take all the film he had shot, in the legislature and in schools, and make it into a short film he could distribute free of charge to public schools across the country and that maybe this way, school systems would begin to acknowledge the existence of dyslexia.”
Beth adds, “Looking into his eyes as he spoke of his children, you saw pure love. This love drove him to get up every day and drove him to create the LilySarahGrace Fund to help support other dyslexic children. He strived, without pause, to make something good for others out of a tragedy most of us could not possibly comprehend.”
In Matthew’s passing, dyslexia has a lost a great champion, and we have lost a wonderful, caring friend. Matthew epitomizes the depth of a father’s love for his daughters. Despite facing unimaginable tragedy, he remained deeply committed to honoring and cherishing his daughters’ memory and bringing relief to others.
Sally E. Shaywitz, MD
Bennett A. Shaywitz, MD
Co-Directors, Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity
Yale University School of Medicine
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