Friends rally around family hit by tragedy

BROADALBIN – People gathered at the Robin’s Nest on Saturday to show support and raise money for an Amsterdam family in the wake of a motor-vehicle accident that claimed three lives.

Elijah Sleight, 9, and his mother, Tanya Sleight, 33, were killed March 10 in a collision on Route 67 in Amsterdam. The crash also took the life of Chyara Concepcion, 39.

Naomi Sleight, 2, and Matthew Sleight, 7, were injured in the accident. Matthew was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital injuries that were not life-threatening. Naomi was flown to Albany Medical Center Hospital for treatment, and she now is at Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital in Schenectady.

Christopher Sleight, Tanya’s husband and the father of Naomi, Matthew and Elijah, said he has been amazed at the support of friends and family since the tragedy.

Fundraisers such as the one at the Robin’s Nest on Saturday are helping to pay for funeral and medical expenses, he said.

“It’s so awesome to see the community come together helping to support us,” Sleight said. “I’d be doing the same thing if it happened to someone else. I really know who my friends are.”

Among those in attendance was Gary Czerw, a friend of the family.

“We’ve had them kids overnight at our house. They all have a big heart,” Czerw said. “The mother had a great sense of humor.”

One of the organizers of the event was Czerw’s daughter Jamie Magnuson.

“Chris Sleight is my best friend,” Magnuson said. “[Tanya Sleight] was a great mom and has great kids.”

She said she feels everything happens for a reason.

“We lost three people in an accident. That’s huge,” Magnuson said.

Magnuson said the fundraiser had wonderful support from companies and individuals who donated items and volunteered for the event.

Jamie Quinn, a caterer and owner of Divine Swine, organized and publicized the fundraiser.

As many as 80 companies donated to the fundraiser, including Stewart’s Shops and Adirondack Beverages, he said.

“I started to plan this the day the accident happened,” Quinn said. “This will help raise money for the family, one who has been rehabilitating at Sunnyview.”

Other fundraising events to benefit the Sleight family are planned around the region, including:

April 18 at Pizzeria UNO in Saratoga Springs, where 20 percent of each table’s check that evening will go toward the Chris Sleight Benefit Fund at Citizens Bank.

May 4 at the Star Bar in Corinth, which will host a silent auction.