Matty Fund founders named WebMD ‘Health Heroes’

RICHARD AND DEBRA SIRAVO, Narragansett residents and founders of the Matthew Siravo Memorial Foundation, were named 2012 WebMD Health Heroes.
Posted 11/13/12

(Updated, 3 p.m.)

NARRAGANSETT – Richard and Debra Siravo have been named 2012 WebMD Health Heroes for the establishment of the Matthew Siravo Memorial Foundation – The Matty Fund – a nonprofit that provides services to children and families affected by epilepsy.

The Siravos established The Matty Fund in 2003 after epilepsy led to the death of their 5-year-old son. Four Health Heroes are named each year, and the Sirvaros are the first in Rhode Island to be recognized by the nationally renowned medical information magazine and website.

“I know our angel Matty is giving us a thumbs up,” said Richard Siravo in a statement. “What started off as a way to cope with our grief has turned into an organization that helps hundreds of families confront and cope with epilepsy for the first time. We’ve reached families across Rhode Island and beyond.”

As Health Heroes, WebMD has published a feature story on the Siravos in its magazine and on its website and the couple received a $2,500 award, which they donated directly to The Matty Fund.

“We know the fear and the challenges epilepsy presents and understand the dramatic changes that take place within a family coping with this disease,” Debra Siravo said in prepared remarks. “When Matty was diagnosed, we struggled to find support locally. We can’t think of a better way to honor Matty’s life than by sharing our experience with other families and providing them with the support they so desperately need.”

WebMD’s Health Heroes are individuals who overcome a medical challenge and then give back to their community “with passion and commitment.”

“Rather than succumb to grief or anger, Debra, a schoolteacher, and Richard, who owned an insurance adjuster business, decided to help others. Starting in their basement in [Narragansett], R.I., they set up The Matty Fund to provide information and resources to other families dealing with epilepsy,” said a feature on

The other 2012 WebMD Health Heroes were:

  • Bonnie Addario, a lung cancer survivor and founder of the Bonnie J. Addario Foundation, which raises awareness of lung cancer and money for cancer research.

  • Bonnie Stehr, a founder of the 90–day Olympic Weight Loss Challenge, a community-wide weight loss competition complete with cash prizes and fund-raising for charity.

  • Robina Suwol, a mother whose son’s asthma attack after being accidentally sprayed with pesticides prompted her to investigated pesticide use in the Los Angeles Unified School District and eventually form California Safe Schools.

PBN Hosted

Join PBN for the best networking event and party of the winter - January 15, 2015 - the Book of Lists Party at the Providence Public Library. Reserve your spot by December 31st and get a holiday gift from PBN!
  • Best Places to Work
    Enrollment is now open for the 7th annual Best Places to Work program. Winners w ...
  • Manufacturing Awards
    Applications are now being accepted for the 2nd Annual Manufacturing Awards. Dea ...
Purchase Data
Book of Lists
Book of Lists cover
PBN's annual Book of Lists has been an essential resource for the local business community for almost 30 years. The Book of Lists features a wealth of company rankings from a variety of fields and industries, including banking, health care, real estate, law, hospitality, education, not-for-profits, technology and many more.
Data icons
Data can be purchased as single lists, in either Excel or PDF format; the entire database of the published book, in Excel format; or a printed copy of the Book of Lists.
  • Purchase an e-File of a single list
  • Purchase an e-File of the entire Book of Lists database
  • Purchase a printed copy of the Book of Lists
    Latest News