Thursday, September 17, 2015

Phillips Philes Erin Blaney Reilly A MatchMade.com Finalist


Lumberton student Abby Reilly, here with her mother, Erin, has been named one of the top three finalists of Match’s second annual MatchMade Scholarship contest, competing for $50,000 toward a college scholarship.

Lumberton girl could win $50K in scholarship, trip to Fiji

September 17, 2015
By Sean Patrick Murphy

LUMBERTON — Abby Reilly didn't think the video she submitted to Match.com was very good.

But she was wrong.

In August, students between the ages of 5 and 20 were welcome to submit a one- to two-minute video retelling the story of how their parents met through Match and how their "MatchMade" family came to be.

Abby has been named one of the top three finalists in Match’s second annual MatchMade scholarship contest, competing for $50,000 toward a college scholarship.

She and the other two finalists are children of Match success couples.

The public can vote at www.matchmade.com, and the finalist with the most votes by Sept. 20 at 11:59 p.m. Central Time will receive the scholarship prize. The winner's parents — the original Match members — will receive a grand prize getaway to Fiji.

Abby, 10, a fifth-grader at Bobby's Run School, said she made a video showing photos of her mother, Erin Reilly, and her mom's boyfriend, Brian Biggi, and narrated how they met and how their relationship developed.

"It was really special to me," Abby said. "I was really excited."

While not sure what college she will attend, Abby said she wants to be a veterinarian.

Biggi said he joined Match.com at the end of July 2014 and was online for a little more than six months before he met Reilly. He met about a dozen people using the dating site and knew Reilly was the one right off the bat.

"Once I met Erin, I knew she was the one," Biggi said. "She loved the thought of having a big family (he has five children), and she is the perfect match for me."

It was Biggi who encouraged Abby to create the video after he got an email about the contest.

Both Biggi, 43, and Reilly, 39, are divorced. He was married for 18 years, with children ranging in age from 9 to 17. She was married seven years.

They started communicating in January and met the next month.

He planned to meet Reilly at Applebee's for lunch on a Friday he had off.

Biggi said that, while waiting in his car outside the restaurant, he saw Reilly and thought to himself, "Oh, my God, this girl is beautiful."

The pair spent three hours at Applebee's.

"Neither of us wanted the date to end," he said. "She's just an amazing person to be around."

Reilly said she was using Match.com for three months before meeting Biggi.

"I had one pseudo-relationship that lasted six weeks, then just one other date before meeting Brian," she said.

Reilly, of Tabernacle, has two children, Abby and Alexander, 12.

Both Biggi and Reilly said their kids are adjusting to the new situation. The couple have lived together for about two weeks.

"I thought it was cute," she said of the video. "I didn't think much of it when she submitted it."

While the possibility of winning a $50,000 scholarship and a trip to Fiji seems strange to her, Reilly said she has been "a pain" on Facebook asking people several times a day to vote for Abby at www.matchmade.com.

She said the Fiji trip would be welcome.

"With seven kids? I think it's awesome," she said. "Who wouldn't like to go to Fiji?"

The other two MatchMade finalists are Sydney Huffman of Huntsville, Alabama, and Celetra Hartford of Frederick, Maryland.

"We’re proud to help them get one step closer to going to college,” said Sam Yagan, CEO of Match.

Founded in 1995, Match was the original dating website. Today, it operates online dating sites in 25 countries, eight languages and five continents.

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