By Jade Perez
As the host of HQ Trivia, the live trivia app and game, Scott Rogowsky is always on the go. However, Rogowsky was able to make time for one of his biggest fans.
At Arc Westchester’s office in Hawthorne, the Harrison native made a surprise visit to program participant Samantha Makris last Friday afternoon.
Makris’ initial reaction was pure excitement.
“This is an awesome, perfect day,” she said.
In the hour that followed, Rogowsky presented Makris with a watch set, mug, baseball card, HQ stickers, t-shirts and a pair of socks to match his outlandish purple suit with colorful geometric shapes all over.
The two first met on Twitter, where Makris befriended Rogowsky. Since then, they have been messaging each other back and forth.
While Rogowsky, who is also a comedian, has a following of nearly 151,000 users and receives thousands of messages from fans, he was immediately drawn to Makris’ impressive story.
Makris, 32, was born with cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus, in which fluid accumulates in the brain. As a result, she has undergone 42 brain surgeries, said her father, Peter Makris.
Makris currently lives in an Arc Westchester group home. According to Executive Director and CEO, Tibi Guzman, the organization focuses on empowering individuals with developmental disabilities and serves more than 2,000 children, teens and adults throughout the country.
Despite the adversity, Makris continues to persevere and inspire others like Rogowsky. She serves as the Arc’s ambassador for the Ronald McDonald House of the Greater Hudson Valley. One of its notable fundraising efforts is its Pull Tab Collection Program, which aims to gather tabs from aluminum cans and bring them to a local recycling center, where they are melted and exchanged for money. These funds help toward the Ronald McDonald House’s expenses.
Reaching out to individuals with special needs and challenges isn’t new for Rogowsky. When he was a teenager he worked at a camp in Scarsdale and dealt with children with ADHD and autism. Rogowsky also as a longtime friend who has Williams syndrome, a condition that affects many parts of the body and can include learning and intellectual disabilities.
“The work that she does with Arc and Ronald McDonald is a wonderful thing. I actually got the office at HQ to help chip in with some tabs,” Rogowsky said of Makris. “I have some history with people of disabilities and knowing these types of kids, the families and what goes into it, it’s beautiful.”