Although Robbie Rosen is the most well known for being on , he recently used his talent to bring attention to Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA).
Rosen, who was inspired by Sophia Gaynor, a two-year-old girl from Wantagh who suffers from the disease, wrote a song in two days entitled “Make it Through,” to help bring attention to SMA. Rosen performed that song written in honor of Gaynor during the second intermission at the Islander game on Saturday, which was designated as SMA awareness night at the Coliseum.
“It’s kind of an uplifting song just to say that together we will be behind Sophia and that we will make it through together. No matter what it takes, she will make it through," he said.
Although there are several types of SMA, Gaynor suffers from SMA Type 1. SMA is a degenerative disease that takes away the motor skills of patients, as well as eventually affecting breathing and even swallowing reflexes.
When asked what was different about performing in front of a crowd for the charity versus performing on American Idol, Rosen explained that the experience wasn’t actually about him – it was about influencing others as well as to bring attention to Sophia, whose resides in Wantagh but in the North Bellmore School District.
“Being part of a competition is definitely a lot different than something like this – supporting something so special and trying to save a girl's life,” he said.
While a portion of all the tickets sold went to Sophia’s Cure, one of the major draws for attendees and the New York Islanders was Rosen’s performance.
“What better platform is there for Robbie to show off his talents while bringing attention to SMA, a disease that not many people may have even known about before they came here,” said Tim Beach, vice president of operations for the Islanders.
In addition to performing, Rosen signed autographs for his fans. The line stretched down the bend in the Coliseum with fans young and old and Rosen was attentive to each and every one of them, signing items and taking photos.
“Robbie has been very professional during this whole process. It was great to have him,” Beach said.
For Vincent Gaynor, Sophia's father, the night was nothing short of magical.
"I am so thankful Robbie was able to perform at the Nassau Coliseum during SMA
awareness night," he said.
Gaynor went on to tell Patch that Rosen and his family have become a major part of their lives since Rosen debuted the song.
"Robbie is an wonderful young man. [He] is using his incredible voice to speak for children who do not have the capabilities of speaking on their own. Robbie, Matt and Lauren – they have become part of our family," he added.