Each year we choose one extraordinary match to represent our local agency as our official Match of the Year. We celebrate their friendship throughout the year and the shining example they set for the rest of our matches.

Big Kathy and Little Lu were matched in 2016 when Lu was 11 years old.

Kathy and Lu have been friends since 2016. Lu has faced a number of unexpected family challenges during that time and Kathy has been an unwavering source of support to help him every step of the way.

They've had a great bond that has only grown stronger as time has passed. Through the years they've done many fun things together, but their favorite is having a meal at Applebee's. It's become their "special place" where they can talk and catch up.

Lu has faced quite a few challenges since knowing Kathy and has leaned strongly on their friendship and those visits to Applebee's to get through the tough times.

"Kathy has been through it all with me. The bond we have is one I’ll never be able to recreate with anyone." - Little Lu.

When they were first matched Lu, who identifies as transgender using the pronouns they/them and he/him, was known as LuLu. Lu was adopted by his grandparents at two months old and had always known them as his mom and dad. His grandmother died when Lu was 12, and soon after he learned the hidden truth that his sister was his mother and his cousins were his siblings.

This series of events snowballed into what anyone would expect including anger, confusion and depression. Through it all Kathy stood unwavering by Lu's side as a listening ear and willing distraction. She's stood by Lu's side through every challenge and each celebration.

Lu is currently living a happy, healthy life with his biological mom and dad. He's enjoying his new family and reveling in the great friendship he and Kathy have. They've created a strong, enduring relationship that is sure to last a lifetime.

Not only were they selected as Match of the Year for our Atlantic and Cape May Counties agency, they were also named Match of the Year for the state of New Jersey and our national office, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America! We know how special they are and it’s been so exciting to see them celebrated on the national stage, too.


Watch the video below to learn more about their friendship!