Sold Out Crowd of 200, Including Friends, Family & South Florida Leaders, Came Together
to Raise Awareness and Funds for Children’s Genetic Diseases of the Brain

Boca Raton, FL, March 23, 2016: The Mathew Forbes Romer Foundation (MFRF), a non-profit organization dedicated to the education and research of children’s genetic diseases of the brain, raised more than $100,000 at the organization’s 17th annual “An Evening of Sweetness & Laughter” held on Sunday, February 28. The night, which featured the See the Light Awards Ceremony, a performance by Grandview Preparatory School’s AcaPride Singing Group, and the hilarious comedy of Johnny Lampert, brought together 200 guests at the Seagate Country Club in Delray Beach.

“While we sold out the event, it felt more like a close family reunion,” said Kevin Romer, president of The Mathew Forbes Romer Foundation. “We have developed so many great partnerships over the past 17 years and we are so thankful to our loyal supporters that have been with us through the incredible journey. Together we are making a real difference.”

During the See the Light Awards Ceremony, the Foundation honored:

  • Mr. Ron Assaf, founder of Sensormatic Electronics, one of the Foundation’s first major benefactors, and Chairman of the Board/President of several institutions that the Foundation has partnered with, including Nova Southeastern University, Boca Regional Hospital, and Florida Atlantic University Foundation.
  • Dr. Gustavo Maegawa, who directs the world-renowned Lysosomal Storage Disease Program at the University of Florida which is being transferred from Johns Hopkins to UF College of Medicine Department of Pediatrics, Division of Genetics. Dr. Maegawa also conducts basic research in his laboratory aiming to understand molecular mechanisms of LSD and develop new therapeutic approaches. 

“It was almost 20 years ago when Kevin Romer was a product development manager in our company, that he approached me with his desire to establish a foundation to fight these insidious diseases,” said Mr. Assaf. “Providing the seed capital for the Mathew Forbes Romer Foundation was consistent with Sensormatic’s philanthropic philosophy and we were pleased to help the Romer family’s efforts while they cared and ultimately mourned the passing of their son Mathew.“

Major sponsors include: Judy Levis Markhoff, Adolph and Rose Levis Foundation, Ron and Kathy Assaf, Christine E. Lynn, Lisajane and Kevin Romer, Joan and Evan Deoul, AB Bernstein, Dr. Marcelle and Andrew Rosen, Nova Southeastern University, Baron Delivery on Demand, Tyco Security Products, Edward Yorke, Linda & Harry Meran, Mike & Joan Siegel, Drs. Lorrie and Lloyd Berkowitz, Neil Eisenband, Carole Romer and Pure Energy Entertainment, Inc.

Photos/captions from the event available for download here:

About The Mathew Forbes Romer Foundation

Inspired by the strength of Mathew Romer, who lost his eight-year battle with Tay-Sachs disease in 2003, The Mathew Forbes Romer Foundation (MFRF) was founded in South Florida 17 years ago with a mission to promote and lead critical awareness, testing, counseling, and research initiatives that hold promise for the prevention and eventual cure of fatal children’s genetic diseases of the brain.

Since being launched, the Foundation has:

  • Co-Founded the National Research Initiative with the National Tay-Sachs and Allied Diseases Association in 2002; raised $3.1M in grants, which has resulted in 50 research projects;
  • Funded several projects that have led to large National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants resulting in over $10 million towards goal;
  • Helped establish the Tay-Sachs Gene Therapy Consortium and a plan with the FDA for an Investigative New Drug (IND) Application to get to clinical studies. .
  • Hosted countless genetic testing and education fairs since 2003 around South Florida and reached more than 1,000 people through screening efforts with 20% detection;
  • Funded more than 25 nursing scholarships with four academic institutions in South Florida, including Florida International University, Florida Atlantic University Colleges of Nursing, and Nova Southeastern University.

The MFRF is the South Florida affiliate of National Tay-Sachs and Allied Diseases Association (NTSAD), one of the oldest patient advocacy groups in the country, and a member of the Jewish Genetic Disease Consortium. The President of the MFRF (Kevin Romer) is also a past President of NTSAD. The Mathew Forbes Romer Foundation was recognized in 2014 with the Best of Boca Raton Award – Education & Research Foundation. For more information, visit

Melissa Perlman
BlueIvy Communications

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