Fundraising Underway To Help Man With Degenerative Skin Condition
In Times of Need, Northeast Pennsylvania comes to the aid of its own. In our regular column, Patrice Wilding provides a platform for area residents facing a variety of obstacles to create awareness and connect them with much-needed help.
Who: Like a lot of 31-year-olds, Vinnie Valvano is an upbeat, faithful individual who loves not only his family, including parents Jim and Teri and little brother Michael, but also cars and sports. The latter of which, however, he has never been able to take part in. Valvano was born with epidermolysis bullosa, a chronic degenerative skin condition that leaves the Lake Ariel resident covered in reoccurring wounds, much like that of a burn victim. EB impacts the daily life of the whole family, which has managed a daily routine of changing Valvano’s medical dressings since his birth. The effects of the disease, including pain management and surgeries every three months or so to alleviate severe scar tissue buildup in Valvano’s esophagus, are ongoing. The rainy season caused much dampness and an outbreak of mold in his home, marking a turn for the worse with Valvano’s EB.
What/when/where: Monetary donations can be made at GoFundMe.com and also sent to 169 Bob Black Road, Lake Ariel, PA 18436, payable to Theresa Valvano.
Why: While Vinnie Valvano never wanted to share his personal story because he thought someone else always has it worse, the recent deterioration in his health has forced his hand and required that he ask for help. Each day he struggles through without improvement makes his condition that much harder, his mother explained. Money collected will be used to help the Valvano family relocate to Massachusetts, the only place where a specific treatment is available that gives Vinnie Valvano any relief. At the moment, the costs associated with moving, as well as the adjustment for cost-of-living and a new home suitable to his needs, is beyond what they can afford.
In his own words: “After 31 years of living with EB, I realize that I wouldn’t be where I am today without my parents. My mom sacrificially gives of herself to be my sole caregiver. And my dad continually struggles to make ends meet in order to provide for my needs. They both always do whatever it takes to give me the best quality of life. Receiving support through the community will not only mean my survival, it will also help to alleviate the financial stress my parents have endured all of these years.” — Vinnie Valvano
A Day of Music for Mike, a benefit held Saturday for Dunmore resident Mike Giordano, who was critically injured in a motorcycle crash in November, was a heartwarming success, his family shared. Several bands and more than 50 people, in addition to family and performers, turned out to raise approximnately $1,614. “The energy was great. People coming together from totally different worlds ... because they all wanted to help out, has touched everyone in my family, my brother especially,” said Medea Giordano.