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Trifones to be honored at fundraiser

Coaches Rob and Marj Trifone will be honored for their support of the Rasmussen Encephalitis (RE) Children’s Project, a Darien-based foundation that supports scientific research to find a cure for this devastating neurological disease, at its third annual fundraising event, Turning Love into Power 3, to be held on Saturday, Feb. 2, at Woodway Country Club.

“The Trifones have been with us from day one and have supported my organization on so many levels,” said Seth H. Wohlberg, founder of the RE Children’s Project, and whose teenage daughter was struck down by the condition in 2008. “More importantly, as coaches they have made a difference in the life of my daughter, Grace… Their leadership and willingness to support my efforts are examples for the community. The Trifones are winners and have had a positive impact on so many young people in this community and are well deserving of this recognition.”

Marj Trifone is the girls swimming coach and a teacher at Darien High School. This past season she coached the girls team to the coveted triple crown which included winning the FCIAC, the Class L division, and Connecticut State High School Championships.  Marj has been a positive influence on Grace as she motivated Grace to get back in the pool following her life altering surgery in 2009, the organization said. This year Marj invited Grace to be the manager of the girls team easing Grace’s entrance into the high school.

Rob Trifone is also a teacher and the boys high school football coach. He first met the Wohlbergs when he coached their son, Mike Wohlberg during the 2008 campaign when the team went undefeated during the regular season. Coach Trifone has sponsored the “Lifting For Grace” event the last three years during which local football team compete in the weight room to raise funds for the RE Children’s Project.

In the summer of 2008, the Wohlberg’s 10-year-daughter Grace started to experience epileptic seizures. After months of testing, her parents learned that she had the extremely rare neurological disorder. Grace underwent an initial hemispherectomy surgery in February 2009. However, her seizures recurred so her parents then brought Grace to UCLA to complete the hemispherectomy which was performed by Dr. Gary Mathern in March 2010. Mathern will be attending this year’s fundraiser and will be a featured speaker.  Today, Grace is back in school readjusting to her new life with the assistance of a full-time aid. While the surgery has stopped the seizures, Grace faces lifelong disabilities that resulted from the surgery including partial blindness, cognitive issues and learning how to walk again.

More info: Purchase tickets for Turning Love Into Power 3 fundraiser to benefit the RE Children’s Project, visit rechildrens.org

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