Our son Antonio is 15. He was born Feb 22,1997..7 1/2 weeks early. He weighed 3lbs 13 oz and was a tough fighter. Never did we imagine we would have to fight again, Antonio was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma on Dec 21,2012. What we thought was just a soccer injury turned out to be the worst nightmare any parent could imagine. He was doing 5k’s up until 3 weeks before he was diagnosed. He is the goalie for his high school team and for our twp team, He complained about a few aches in the leg but we chalked it up to a soccer injury or growing pains. Never did we expect this. After MRI’s, CAT scans, Pet Scans and bone scans and a biopsy, the verdict was in.. Ewing’s Sarcoma..The primary tumor is in his left leg which has grown up to his thigh. The lymph nodes in his thigh, groin and behind the knee are also swollen. It is also in the right leg and it has spread to the lungs. The tumor in his left leg is almost the size of a pineapple. The spots on his lungs are small. Drs at CHOP believe we got there in the nick of time. We praise our Pediatrician Dr. Foreman for knowing something wasn’t right and rushing us to chop. We are forever grateful to him. Like most people we never even heard of this cancer. The last 2 weeks have been a rollercoaster, a ride that I wish we could get off. How does a family absorb this and process this? Antonio is my 1st born, He has a sister Rose who is 8.
Antonio is a huge soccer player. He lives and breathes soccer. His favorite team is Real Madrid and of course his favorite player is Ronaldo, but he is also a huge women’s US soccer fan and his favorite player is Hope Solo. Our son is full of life and he has a contagious smile. He loves music and is a drummer who has his own set. You can hear him banging away on them at all times of the day and as loud as down the street. he’s actually quite good too !! He’s a good boy and loves his family more than anything. He loves school and loves to be with his friends. Oh and he loves video games what teenager doesn’t? He is the light of our lives. He is loved by his family and by his friends. This will be a fight but we will kick the beast in the butt… He may have cancer but cancer DOES not have him… NEVER!!
Please take one moment and put yourselves in our shoes. Our own family, and many others that the Kisses for Kyle Foundation have helped. Imagine hearing “There is no easy way to say this…..Your child has cancer”
There are very few words that could ever compare to those. Now imagine what your life would be like; Quitting work, countless Doctors appointments, surgeries, Chemo, hospital stays, so many things that you had not thought of. You are no longer in charge of your own life. You are now a stranger to your own family and friends. If all this was not enough, you now only have one income or none. Where is the money going to come from? Who is going to care for your family? How in the world can I provide birthday/holiday presents/celebrations for my family when I am in the hospital with my sick child
Then in steps the Kisses for Kyle Foundation. An organization that was created by an incredible lady who understands. She has lived the life you are now living. They are there to help. They provide so much, help with bills and holidays, ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on, they understand, they provide hope.
Some people think that the Kisses for Kyle Foundation is there just to help families financially who have children with a disease . But they are so much more than that. Even after nearly a year since my daughter passed away from cancer, I still hear from them. They check in with me every so often, “just to see how I was doing”. They understand. They have been in our shoes.
Thank you to the Kisses for Kyle Foundation for all of your support. But even more so, thank you for understanding, thank you for being my friend.
I called Sharon to find out what I could do to help, and she ended up helping us in more ways than we could ever imagine,” said Gemma Zaffino.
“We will be forever grateful to the Kisses for Kyle Foundation from the bottom of our hearts for everything they have done for us. They provided emotional and financial support when we needed it the most, and I knew Sharon was someone I could turn to when other family members didn’t always understand exactly what I was going through.”
“I could never have achieved the smiles that they put on my kids’ faces alone,” Zaffino said. “What Sharon is doing through this organization takes dedication, strength and courage, and I admire her for that. Through her encouragement and support, she motivates others like myself to help her accomplish her mission, and I plan to do everything I can to help her succeed.”
I just want to thank your organization for providing my daughter with an amazing gift package yesterday while she was receiving chemo at CHoP. She was so excited and so happy and giggling each time she opened another gift. It will certainly make her Christmas an even happier one as we celebrate it away from home while she is being treated at CHoP. Thanks again for your incredible generosity and putting such a huge smile on my little girl’s face!!!
The Kisses for Kyle Foundation has helped our family out tremendously while out daughter Ella was in treatment. The Foundation helped out with household bills, Christmas gifts and was always there to offer various other ways to help. Ella has been out of treatment for a year now and they still include her in the fun things the Kisses for Kyle Foundation has to offer. We are so grateful for everything this amazing organization has done for our daughter and our family.
My name is Jaclyn Pinto. On December 29, 2008 I welcomed to the world the most beautiful baby boy I had ever laid eyes on, my son, Cole Thomas Pinto. I was so proud; he was by far my hugest accomplishment in life. As most new mothers are, I was worried from the moment he was born, but not about being a new mommy, I just had a feeling inside, most parents of children with illness have expressed this same feeling I am speaking of. Cole and I spent five days in the hospital after his birth as I had a cesarean section and we were required a five day, four night stay. He had been evaluated by pediatrician after pediatrician during that time and I asked over and over again about his breathing. He seemed to be struggling, yet I was told this was normal as infants breath much more rapidly than adults do. My husband didn’t seem to be concerned my fear would not go. I can recall being home with him the first few weeks of his life sitting with him in my arms sobbing and saying please don’t leave mommy, please don’t leave mommy, over and over again, I couldn’t even understand it myself, though I thought it may be hormones, I never really believed it. I didn’t say anything, not even to Cole’s father.
At 3 months, Cole had gotten a little cold, it just would not go away, he seemed to be having trouble breathing, he was taken to the pediatrician, its just a cold they said, he should be fine in a week or so, plenty of fluids, etc. Exactly one week later, I had my husband take him back, again they were getting ready to send him home, the nurse practitioner says it’s just a cold. I had my husband put her on the phone, told her that my son needed to see the doctor, I told her that my husband was not leaving until the doctor evaluated Cole and that they must either prove to my husband and I that this was not something more than a cold or there would be action taken later had they ignored my request and there was actually something more going on. They sent Cole for a chest x-ray, soon after we were sent to Holy Redeemer Hospital and shortly there after to Saint Christopher Hospital where after numerous tests we found that my son had Stage III Neuroblastoma. His tumor was so large that is had taken over the whole left side of his chest and pushed all his organs over to the right side of his body. His prognosis was very favorable, they said, but getting him healthy would be like climbing Mount Everest, and it was worse for me, though Cole was such a pleasant happy baby and remained that way through it all.
He was diagnosed on April 1, 2008 and began treatment on April 2, 2008. He received five rounds of chemotherapy and his treatment ended at the end of August 2008. He handled this well and had gotten us through.
I cannot begin to explain the fear, it never leaves you, yet unless you’ve experienced it, you will never know the terror.
Our finances were sparse to say the very least. We were struggling in every endeavor. When you have to choose between paying the bills or feeding your child, you feed your child. When you have to choose to stay by our child’s side during treatment or going to work to pay the bills, you choose to stay by your child’s side. When you are completely helpless and all you can do is stay by your child’s side, you stay by your child’s side. When all you have to contribute to the wellness of your child is being there to love and comfort them, you stay to love and comfort them. Your mind is where it should be, solely on your child’s health and well being. And your mind is there for every second of every minute of every hour of everyday. That is exactly how it is and finances should be the last thing you should have to worry about while you’re child is fighting cancer, fighting for their little life.
We were truly blessed to have the help of Sharon Snyder and The Kisses for Kyle foundation. They helped us tremendously when we had no one else who could. We no longer had to worry about anything but getting our son well and the relief that provides is priceless. Even now as I write this, I cannot seem to fully express how very thankful I am for the generosity and care we received from this foundation. There isn’t much that can put your mind at ease during such a difficult time, but not having to worry about finances, being able to be with your child and knowing there was someone who cares was quite a help.
Not long after my son’s treatment ended, my marriage did as well. Not only was I the parent of a child with cancer, I was now a single parent. My financial struggles had more than doubled and I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do. Cole’s treatments had ended, but his care did not, there are numerous Dr. Appointments, testing, pediatrician visits, the list goes on and on and all of this requires time home from work and loss of pay. Again, the Kisses for Kyle foundation was there to help when I needed it most. I do not know what I would have done without the help of Sharon Snyder and the Kisses foundation, my family, while they did everything they could, could only do so much.
The Kisses for Kyle foundation has not only helped my family, but continues to help in any way they can and my son and I continue to be treated not as a family receiving help, but as if we are part of their family. Sharon takes the time to listen when you need it the most, to offer her help financially as well as to offer her advice and experiences in order to point you in the right direction. When you feel as though you have become defeated, she helps you to pick yourself up and keep on going in a positive direction.
The gratitude I have will remain with me always.
Keira aka Kiki is five years old. She loves her Mommy, Daddy, her twin brother Brendan, our chocolate lab, Bailey and her build-a-bear bunny “fuzzy”. She is a very outgoing girl and pretty much always has been. Since she was able to say “hi” she loved to wave and say it to everyone, not saying hi back was not an option because she would just smile wave and say it until you responded. She has always been a generous and thoughtful child, she is willing to share anything and always worries about how everyone around her is feeling.
Her outgoing, caring personality has helped her to help other kids going through treatment, when new kids arrive at the clinic she will let them see her get her procedures to put them at ease. She holds their hands while they get a check-up, a “finger prick” or accessed for Chemo. It also makes it difficult for her because she can’t go to kindergarten with Brendan and she doesn’t like to stay home with “no one to play with”.
Keira loves attending Kisses for Kyle events. The first time she met Sharon Snyder and the kisses for Kyle family was at the Lady Bug ball. She felt like a star, everyone made her feel so special and she still sings “Letters to Kyle” that she learned that night. Since then we’ve attended several other events and Keira even got to model. She isn’t the only one who has been helped by the foundation. In April when we were told that our oil tank had to be replaced or we were going to have a leak in our house Kisses for Kyle found someone willing to donate the tank and their time to replace it. At that point, I had been out of work for four months, I would be out for two more and then dad would be out for three. To say that it was a miracle to have that worry removed is an understatement.
At Christmas time Brendan and Keira received presents that made it “the best Christmas ever” and we were once again blessed with not having to worry about how we were going to get out from under our crushing credit card debt and still have a special holiday. Keira has been in treatment for Leukemia since December 5, 2012 and her last chemo treatments is scheduled for April 4, 2015. Knowing that there is an organization like Kisses or Kyle means the world to us. We are an ordinary family in the battle of our lives and knowing that we are not alone is incredible.