Nick Nakon's artwork began with a sketch of Bugs Bunny

Golf outing set for August 28, 2006

Gala event in Olde Avon Village Sept. 29 - Oct. 1, 2006

3-7-10: American Cancer Society honors Matt Nakon

FEATURE ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 7-4-04, By RON VIDIKA, Morning Journal Writer

``From Bugs Bunny to fighting cancer

AVON -- Nick Nakon's artwork began with a sketch of Bugs Bunny done in the back seat of the Nakon family car and culminated as a way to raise money for a foundation to find a cure for breast cancer.

Nick, 12, son of Matt and the late Karen Nakon of Avon, has the uncanny knack to visualize a watercolor painting in his head and paint what he sees on canvas.

His parents knew this and his mother took special care to guide him in the right direction as far as honing his artistic skills.

On the same day Nick's mother died of breast cancer, Feb. 22, 2003, her 38th birthday, the Karen P. Nakon Breast Cancer Foundation was established by her husband.

Nick's watercolors were made into a calendar, with the proceeds benefitting the foundation.

''It's a healing for all of us,'' said Matt Nakon of establishing the foundation, which will offer research grants for the cure of breast cancer and provide financial assistance for families who have a loved one undergoing treatment.

''It's a method for us to direct our energy for something positive. She knew I wouldn't just sit on my hands. And Nick saw a side of life he never should have seen. So, this is healing therapy for him, too. I've allowed him to do this,'' said Matt Nakon.

Nick's artwork first got public notice at a foundation-sponsored golf outing in September 2003.

''At the golf outing, seven of Nick's paintings sold at auction for $325 apiece. They were, quite frankly, the talk of the show ...'' said Matt Nakon.

''So many people wanted a piece of his work ... and I will only allow him to produce a painting a week. So that's how we backed into the calendar,'' he said.

It was when Nick was 5, that the Nakons first encountered his innate sense of duplicating in free hand what he saw, both in the outside world and in his mind's eye.

''Nick had a Bugs Bunny pillow on the back seat. One day, when we were driving around, he asked for a piece of paper. Karen reached in my briefcase and took a piece of paper from a legal pad. Two minutes later, there was a sketch of Bugs Bunny on the paper. I thought Karen had staged it. Her father's an accomplished artist. She didn't paint, but she was fairly creative,'' said Matt Nakon.

He said his wife smiled as she denied any involvement with the sketch. So, Nakon took out a second sheet of yellow legal paper and told Nick to do it again.

Two minutes later, he did.

''At that point, I looked at Karen and said we'd better do something with it (Nick's talent),'' said Nakon.

Nick remembered the Bugs Bunny drawing and said, ''On that one, I was looking at a pillow. But my hand knew what it was doing.''

Said his father, ''We knew he had some talent. Karen would work with him and ask him to copy things. But he never got formal training until we saw he had a real interest in it.''

When Nick turned 10, Karen called Kay Klonk, owner of Maine Light Studio in Avon Lake, and enrolled Nick in her art classes.

''Nick is a very talented and sensitive young man,'' said Klonk. ''I was teaching him the impressionistic style of painting. Then he said, ‘Can I do it again my way?' And it turned out beautifully. It was realistic and impressionistic,'' said Klonk.

''More often than not, it's done through visualization,'' said Nakon. ''When he's looking at a photograph or learning a new technique, he tries to recreate the scene. But he had nothing (no visual stimuli) for his painting of a waterfall in the woods,'' said Nakon.

''Last June, Nick painted a picture of a cabin. Karen's dad, Gary Rockey, Nick's grandfather, did the original of that cabin in a winter scene, with snow and ice all over the cabin. Karen's sister asked Nick to convert it into a fall scene. He reproduced it well. And it was also a multi-generational painting,'' said Nakon.

''When Nick was first doing paintings, he was under such pressure with his mother (and her illness), that the painting kind of took his mind off it. When she became ill and bedridden, he'd ask his dad, 'Which painting do you think Mom would like?' And then he'd take it home and tack it above her bed,'' said Klonk.

''For that hour in class, I think he forgot a little bit and he became a little boy again,'' said Klonk.

When not in school or art class, Nick is your typical 12-year-old.

''I like computer games and I like to play against others in Internet competition. I just played a game with a kid from Hawaii,'' said Nick.

Nick has two siblings, Morgan, 10, and Madison, 6.

''He drew a real cute Scooby Doo for his sister,'' said Klonk. ''He likes to do gifts for his family.''

In that vein, there is a letter accompanying his special calendar. In it, Nick wrote that it was ''a gift to others, in memory of my mom.''

When Nick was asked what his favorite memory was of his mother, he said, ''All of my memories.''

Nakon said an initial print of 2,000 calendars was completed in early June. Calendars are $15 apiece. To purchase one, call 440-937-6712.

The second annual Golf Outing and Auction to benefit the Karen P. Nakon Breast Cancer Foundation will be held July 26 [2004] at Red Tail Golf Club, 4400 Nagel Road, Avon. For further information and directions to the course, log on to: www.redtailgolfclub.com ''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 4-26-06, By Julie A. Short

``Golf outing set for Aug. 28, [2006]

AVON -- Since its inception in 2003, the Karen P. Nakon Breast Cancer Foundation has raised more than $170,000. The Foundation is named in honor of Avon resident Matt Nakon's wife, Karen, who in lost her battle with breast cancer on Feb. 22, 2003, her 38th birthday. Karen was the mother of three children. Matt has made it his mission to extend financial assistance to families who are burdened with the staggering costs of breast cancer treatments, by developing the Foundation.

"The support has been outstanding," Matt said. "As of our last board meeting, 45 families have received funds. "The Foundation has successfully kept people in their homes, paid for utilities, groceries and medical expenses and offered additional assistance as a result of cancer treatments. Our goal is to help 50 families this year. The applications for assistance are far outreaching the dollars available."

Several events are held throughout the year, including a golf outing and Turkey Dash run, to raise funds and awareness for the Foundation. According to Matt, a new campaign will be kicking off on Mother's Day (May 14) with assistance from WKYC Channel 3.

"Last year, 270,000 people were diagnosed with breast cancer in our country," Matt said. "So our goal is to raise $270,000 between Mother's Day and Thanksgiving to help as many of these families as possible. It's simple, one dollar for every woman diagnosed with breast cancer."

How does the Foundation plan to raise it? $1 at a time. "If everyone gives just one dollar for every woman they know with breast cancer, then we will have our goal," Matt said. "Everyone knows someone with breast cancer or someone who has lost their battle with the disease. We plan to get the schools, churches and businesses involved." Foundation administrator, Liz Adamson also noted that several businesses throughout the area are challenging employees and customers to make a donation.

"Groups are becoming very creative," she said. "We will also be sponsoring an event in the fall, called Art in the Village, where some of the proceeds will benefit the Foundation." Adamson co-owns the Pear Tree Gallery in Olde Avon Village ...

In addition to the new campaign, the annual golf outing is scheduled for Aug. 28 at Red Tail Golf Club in Avon. Matt's law firm, Wickens, Herzer, Panza, Cook & Batista has been a sponsor behind the large-scale event.

"We are very excited about this year's outing," Matt said. "It will again be a double shotgun start. We hope to have approximately 200-225 golfers. Our silent auction will again be open to the public. We plan to have lots of sports items available. The community has been very generous and supportive. Every year we find we are getting more and more new members."

The past three golf outings have raised a combined $150,000. The Foundation is currently soliciting sponsors, as well as golfers. Corporate sponsorships can be purchased for $5,000, $2,500 and $1,000. Hole sponsorships are also available this year for $250. The cost for golfers is $150.

For more information regarding the Foundation, call 937-6712 or log on to www.nakonfoundation.org.

Those interested in entering a team in the golf scramble or donating items for auction can contact The Karen P. Nakon Breast Cancer Foundation Administrative Office at 937-6712 or mail in your sponsorship no later than June 1 to The Karen P. Nakon Breast Cancer Foundation, 4262 Lake Harbour Way, Avon 44011.''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 5-24-06, By Julie A. Short

[Gala event in Olde Avon Village Sept. 29 - Oct. 1, 2006]

``AVON -- Summer isn't officially here yet, but plans are already underway for a premier fall event in Lorain County. Art in the Village is the brainchild of Avon resident Liz Adamson. The event will be held within Olde Avon Village Sept. 29-Oct. 1 and feature an array of talented artists from the region.

"We are going to have a diverse group of talent," Adamson said. "From jewelry, glass, pottery, acrylic, water colors, fiber, etc. It is a juried art show with prizes awarded. The art will be on exhibit throughout the weekend.

The Village will be closed off to pedestrian traffic only during the weekend. The Tree House will be selling food samples on Saturday and Sunday. There will also be music throughout the weekend. Parking will be available at the city's municipal lot behind the police station which I have been assured will be paved by then."

The "must-attend" event is the kick-off VIP reception, which takes place Sept. 29. The $100 ticket (the rest of the festival is free) event entitles guests to a gourmet meal prepared by a local chef. The menu includes an array of culinary creations such as Charleston She-Crab Soup, a trio of Cool Shrimp, Crab laws and Blue Point Mussels served with BBQ sauce, and Chocolate Oblivion Torte.

Wine will be supplied by The Tree House's Wine Cellar of fine wines. The ticket will also entitle guests to an evening of entertainment and dancing to the sounds of the 22-piece Swing City Big Band. Each ticket will also be entered into a drawing for original artwork donated by each participant in the Art in the Village juried show ...

Adamson, owner of the Pear Tree Gallery located at Olde Avon Village, is committed to donating all of the profits from the evening to support the mission of the Karen P. Nakon Breast Cancer Foundation and the "1 for Every One" campaign. As previously reported in The Press, the goal is to raise $1 for every person in the U.S. who was diagnosed with breast cancer last year...a total of $270,000.

According to Adamson, DJ Bob Pipoly, whose wife has breast cancer, will be providing the music for the event. The family is one of the recipients of the Foundation.

"We received a great response already on the campaign which kicked off on Mother's Day (May 14)," Adamson said. "Moen has donated $5,000. Rea Ann Nursing Homes are donating $1 for every resident and employee they have in their nursing homes. It's that kind of community support that will make this effort successful. It can even be as personal as a neighborhood Bunko group getting together and donating $1 for person in the group. My hope and dream is that we can exceed our goal and present the Foundation with a check for over $300,000 in November during our annual Turkey Dash."

Cost for a 10x10 booth at the festival is $125. The jewelry category is already closed out. Adamson is currently looking for additional artists who wish to participate.

For more information, call 937-9927. To purchase tickets for the VIP event, call the Foundation at 937-6712. For more information on the Foundation, log on to www.nakonfoundation.com ''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 3-7-10, by Alicia Castelli

[American Cancer Society honors Matt Nakon]

``LORAIN - Avon attorney Matthew Nakon was named the American Cancer Society's 'Living Angel' of 2010 Saturday night at a fundraising event at DeLuca's Place in the Park for his work raising money in his late wife's name to help families fighting breast cancer pay their bills ...

Nakon met his wife, Karen, in college, and they started their family in 1992. In 1998, while Karen Nakon was seven months pregnant with their third child, they learned a lump she'd discovered 20 months before was breast cancer ...

Karen Nakon died on her 38th birthday - the same day her husband established the legal framework for The Karen P. Nakon Breast Cancer Foundation ...

Karen Nakon endured five years of treatment that included eight surgeries and more than 300 chemotherapy sessions. The idea for the foundation was born as she and her husband rode the elevator to one of her treatments and listened as a couple of families were discussing the financial hardships and their concerns over losing their jobs or their insurance because of their cancer ...

Since 2004, the foundation has raised more than $360,000 and helped 200 families throughout the state, Nakon said. The foundation gives away 100 percent of the money it raises and is administered out of the law offices of Wickens, Herzer, Panza, Cook and Batista where Nakon is a partner ...

Nakon told the crowd one recent recipient was a couple in North Ridgeville. Both parents are police officers, and they have five children and found themselves about to lose their home because of the expense of her breast cancer treatments. The foundation covered their mortgage for five months until her treatments were completed ...

During his acceptance speech, Nakon thanked his co-workers, the foundation's board of directors and his family, especially his three children who have been volunteering with the foundation for years and 'who own me and who, quite frankly, know it. ' Your mother would be very proud of you.'

Anyone interested in the foundation, or in donating, can visit

www.nakonfoundation.org

or call (440) 933-7621.

Contact Alicia Castelli at acastelli@chroniclet.com.

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