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Fundraiser Saturday To Honor The Memory Of "Smiley Seth" Bottari

Feb 27, 2019 02:48PM ● By Bill Gilman

Steven and Sarah Bottari, with their children, Seth and Sadie (Courtesy photo)

It has been 18 months since Steve and Sarah said "until we see you again" to the smiling little boy they called their "Firecracker Baby."
This weekend, they will take the next step -- a huge step -- in the grieving process. The "Smiley Seth Foundation", begun by the Bottari's to honor their son's memory, will host its first major event, a fundraiser at the Tewksbury-Wilmington Elks Club, 777 South St., Tewksbury.
The event will take place Saturday, March 2, 1 to 5 p.m. and will feature lots of food, music, children's activities, raffles and a cash bar. Tickets are $20 each in advance, $25 at the door and a maximum of $50 per family.
All proceeds will go to the Smiley Seth Foundation, to benefit ATRT Research, Boston Children's Hospital, Bereaved Families and Assistance for Families in Treatment.
"There were so many people that were so caring and so supportive of us when Seth was sick, we want to be able to help other families and to honor Seth," said Sarah Bottari.
Seth Bottari was born in July 2016, the second child of Sarah Bottari and her husband, Steve. The young family, including big sister Sadie, welcomed the addition of this happy, vibrant baby boy.
Seth had been born with three birthmarks, on his back, left foot and hip. Steve and SArah kept a watch on the marks, to make sure they didn't change size or texture. Two months after Seth was born, his pediatrician voiced some concerns about the marks and suggested they be checked by a dermatologist.
And so began a journey that was incredibly difficult, physically and emotionally, for the family. There were endless doctors visits, tests and more tests and biopsies. 
These led to a Steve and Sarah hearing the word every parent dreads - cancer. Specifically, Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumors (ATRT), and a rare variation, at that.
(Editor's note: Sarah chronicled Seth's battle with cancer on her "Smiley Seth" blog site, which can be found here.)
There was brain surgery, but the surgeon could only remove a portion of the cancerous tissue.
There was ongoing treatment at Boston Children's Hospital and Dana Farber, which became second homes to the family.
What there was not, despite all the best efforts by doctors, was a cure for Seth. At just 14 months old, Seth passed away in his mother's arms, with his father by their side.
The loss was, understandably, devastating for the entire family. But Sarah and Steve are determined that Seth's life won't be forgotten and that his death will have lasting meaning. So they founded the Smiley Seth Foundation, so named for Seth's infectious grin that would light up a room, said Sarah.
Through fundraising efforts like Saturday's event, Steve and Sarah hope to raise awareness of ATRT and money toward ATRT research, Boston Children's Hospital, Bereaved Families and Assistance for Families in Treatment.
It is for other bereaved families that Sarah has a special desire to help. While Boston Children's Hospital and Dana Farber have strong support programs for families going through treatment, they don't have formal programs to support families that have recently lost children to cancer and other illnesses. She's hoping to see that change through the work of the Smiley Seth Foundation.
"They let you know that you can reach out to them (after a death), and they're great, but isn't a real program offered and I think there should be. It would be helpful to a lot of people," said Sarah.
For more information on the Smiley Seth Foundation and to buy tickets for the fundraiser, email Sarah Bottari at
Can't make it Saturday but want to help? You can make a donation at


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