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Family Honors Teen Killed at Bristol Mountain With Scholarship


To honor the life of the late Christian Cuomo, who tragically lost his life in a skiing accident at Bristol Mountain Resort in 2022, Lawrence World Class Karate (LWC Karate) together with his family have announced the launch and co-sponsorship of the Christian Cuomo Scholarship Fund.

The scholarship will be awarded every year to a deserving student at LWC Karate who serves as an inspiring example of overcoming great adversity and demonstrates dedication, commitment, and love of Karate-do.

Matthew Killian, a blind 24-year-old man with autism spectrum disorder and epilepsy, from Fayetteville, is the first beneficiary of the Christian Cuomo Scholarship Fund.

Lisa Cuomo, Chris’s mom said, “Chris loved his karate and achieved his junior black belt at the age of 13. He embraced everything that life had to offer with passion. Above all, he was a fantastic son and a true gentleman who genuinely cared about those around him. This scholarship fund is dedicated to him, and he would be very supportive of Matthew being the fund’s first beneficiary.”

“This means a lot to me, and I am very grateful to the Cuomo family,” said Matthew Killian. “I will do my best to make Chris and his family proud.”

Killian has been a karate student for two years and became blind at the age of 19 due to a rare disease called Leber Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON). His lack of vision means that he cannot learn karate the traditional way by copying set attacking and defensive hand and leg movements and sequences. He also has challenges with his balance and spatial requirements, all crucial aspects of karate. In addition, he has been an epileptic since the age of three and was diagnosed with autism when he was 10 years old.

Hanshi Rande Lawrence, the head instructor at LWC Karate said, “Chris was a wonderful student and young man. He embodied every value of our dojo – courtesy and respect. He enjoyed being in the dojo and worked very hard at his karate. Setting up this scholarship together with the Cuomo family is a wonderful way to honor Chris and we are all grateful for their generous contribution.”

At the time of his accident, Chris was a Sophomore at Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse, an honors student, and a keen sportsman.

Lawrence World Class Karate Dojo is the only karate school in Central New York specializing in traditional Japanese Shotokan and Okinawan Goju-ryu Karate Systems. A number of adults and children with an array of physical and mental challenges and disabilities are students at the school.

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