Patriots going to bat for Boyd family to raise cancer awareness – Lowell Sun
TOWNSEND — To those closest to him, Matthew Boyd will always be remembered for his big heart and for putting others first.
On Saturday, the North Middlesex Regional athletic department put Boyd in the spotlight and honor his memory when it holds its Cancer Awareness Day at the high school.
The communities of Townsend, Ashby and Pepperell will come together in memory of Boyd, a Townsend resident who lost his battle with pediatric cancer in October 2021 at the age of 14.
Saturday will feature several North Middlesex teams in action, with the Patriots baseball and softball teams hosting Lunenburg and the boys and girls lacrosse teams hosting Tyngsboro.
“What we are trying to accomplish is we want to get the high school teams and the community involved in not only remembering Matt Boyd, who we are dedicating this to, but all the people who have been affected by cancer, whether that be losing a loved one or dealing with it currently,” said North Middlesex baseball coach Jim Beauregard. “This is our first attempt in doing this and when we lost Matt in the fall we thought this would be a great way to honor and remember him.”
An athlete himself, Boyd was a student in the Townsend school system through middle school.
“Matt was a student at Spaulding School and then went to Hawthorne Brook in Townsend. He was on his way to Nashoba Tech in Westford,” said Matthew’s mother Tracy Boyd. “Matt loved baseball, he played all the way up through eighth grade and we were pretty sure that he was going to play at Nashoba Tech, but got too sick right after the school year started in 2021. He also played Dek hockey and he loved to snowboard and fish.”
Matthew Boyd was diagnosed with Sarcoma in January 2021. Unfortunately, chemotherapy and radiation were unsuccessful and the disease spread to his brain and his lymph nodes. Boyd lost his battle on October 30, 2021.
“He didn’t even know. He was snowboarding the week before,” said Matthew’s father, Scott Boyd. “He had a mild cough. That was it.”
The Boyd family hopes that in addition to honoring Matthew, the event raises awareness about how the battle against pediatric cancer is being fought and funded.
“I think it’s really important to have a day like this because childhood cancer only gets funded four percent from the government and every day probably 47 kids are diagnosed in the United States alone,” said Emily Boyd, a 2020 North Middlesex graduate and current student at Fitchburg State University. “I didn’t realize how much of a problem this was until it affected me on a personal level because I lost my brother. Watching him suffer and knowing there are other kids out there suffering too.”
Saturday will also feature a wide variety of fundraisers, including a craft fair with over 35 vendors, a raffle table with 35 gift baskets and food including BBQ and cannoli among others. In addittion, there are several student group activities planned.
“It’s going to be an emotional day. I got to know the Boyds and they are an absolutely beautiful family,” said North Middlesex head softball coach Janice Portlock, whose players will wear special shirts for Saturday’s game against the Blue Knights. “It’s going to be a really special day. All of us, one way or another, have been affected by cancer. Saturday will be for Matthew and for everyone that we’ve lost and everyone who is fighting this disease right now, including my mother.”
There will be a cancer awareness ceremony held on the North Middlesex baseball field at 2 p.m.
“We are incredibly honored,” said Tracy Boyd. “The community has come together and rallied for us in an unbelievable way.”
All proceeds from Saturday event will go toward pediatric cancer and the Children’s Oncology Group.
“I’m excited about the day we have planned, it’s going to be a tremendous tribute to Matt and his family,” said Beauregard. “I only had the chance to meet Matt twice. When the baseball program had our cancer game last year, we had Matt come down and throw out the first pitch. Even in the short amount of time I got to spend with him, he had an impact on my life.”