Erin Musto receives Woman of Distinction award

— Photo from Erin Musto

Erin Musto, founder of the foundation Maddie’s Mark — which creates “Best Day Evers” for sick children — was honored Friday by Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara as a Woman of Distinction.

Musto started the foundation after her five-year-old daughter Madeline died in February 2012, just five days after being diagnosed with a rare form of inoperable brain-stem tumor.

At the award ceremony at Proctor’s Theatre in Schenectady on Friday night, Musto explained that she initially created her foundation as a way of grieving her daughter’s loss, but that it became a way to bring Madeline along in life, helping other families to remember what Madeline had taught Erin Musto: that it’s often the little joys experienced together as a family that mean most.

Musto organizes whatever experience each family who receives a “Best Day Ever” would like — a yard makeover, a room makeover, a party, a trip — and takes care of all the details, so that the family can relax and enjoy, she said onstage while speaking with Santabarbara, who is a Democrat from the 111th District.

Musto currently lives in Rotterdam, but previously lived in Guilderland. Her foundation is based in Guilderland.

Musto told The Enterprise this week that she was honored by the recognition of the work that the foundation does. “We get caught up in it,” she said. “It becomes your normal, and it’s kind of special when somebody says, ‘Your normal is kind of exceptional.’”

The awards honored “a lot of pretty great women” whose work is extremely varied, Musto said this week, adding that she enjoyed meeting and listening to all of them speak.

Other women honored include: Sherain Rivera, who was once, with her six children, homeless, and who started Raindrops Closet — a nonprofit that collects clothing and household items for struggling families; and Betty Harper, a member of the not-for-profit Hughes Williams Helping Hands Committee and the co-chairwoman of the Hamilton Hill Arts Center’s Juneteenth Celebrations at Vale Cemetery and Schenectady’s Central Park.




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