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Families Rally for Betsy Ross Para in Hospital for Holidays

The mom of two suffered a massive heart attack before Thanksgiving and went into a coma. Mahwah families are now selling bracelets to help her family through her ongoing treatment.

Allison Schlackman and Karen Johnson during the end of year Kindergarten party.
Allison Schlackman and Karen Johnson during the end of year Kindergarten party.

When Allison Schlackman, a Mahwah mom of two who works as a para-professional in a first grade class at Betsy Ross School, suffered a heart attack on Nov. 25, locals say the entire community was affected.

Schlackman’s heart attack was massive. She was transported to New York Presbyterian Hospital where she was in a coma, and critical condition, for two weeks.

She recently woke up, and now faces a triple bypass surgery and long recovery.

The Betsy Ross community has been raising money for Schlackman’s family, and now they are asking all of Mahwah to help.

“She is just one of the sweetest people,” Colleen DeMaio, one of the local moms of a Betsy Ross student organizing the fundraiser for the family, said.

“And her kids are great. They haven’t really seen their mom since before Thanksgiving, and she’s not going to be home for Christmas. It’s just especially hard for Allison’s husband and kids during this time of year, and we wanted to do something to help.”

So, DeMaio has gotten together with a group of moms from Schlackman’s class - Marcy Moskowitz, Amanda McAlear, Tanya Thoelen, Michelle DeSilva, Liz Molino, Tina Olsen and Julianne Centrelli - and designed bracelets that say “Be Brave. We [Heart] AS.” So far, the moms have been selling the $2 bracelets through email blasts and Facebook posts.

“I can’t believe how generous people have been,” DeMaio said. “They are selling really quickly, it’s wonderful.”

The funds raised will be donated to the Schlackman family, who lives in Mahwah, to help with transportation and other associated costs to travel back and forth to the hospital.

According to the volunteers, the drive has made a big difference for the family. The Schlackmans have even created a CaringBridge.com page to update the community on Allison’s condition and progress.

“She’s an important part of our school, and an important part of our town,” DeMaio said.

DeMaio and the other moms organizing the bracelet drive will be at Continental Soldiers Field on Dec. 22 from noon to 4 p.m. handing out the bracelets that have been ordered, and collecting donations. Until then, locals can order bracelets by contacting her at cincodemaio@verizon.net.

Laura Rose December 13, 2013 at 07:24 AM
I'm so upset over this. I love Alison - as so many others do too! I've known Alison since the kids were in pre-k together long ago.
William Hunt December 13, 2013 at 09:30 AM
Wishing Allison a quick and complete recovery. A well deserved "attaboy" to all the first responders who worked so hard and successfully to keep her alive and get her to the hospital!

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