It was early August 2001, as I made my routine call to my mom to check in and see how she and the family were doing. The instant that she answered the phone I knew there was something wrong. I could hear it in her words as she said that she just got off the phone with my younger brother Rick. It should have been one of my brother’s best days because just a few days earlier he became a father. My nephew Sal was born on August 4, 2001. The news that my mother told me was that Sal was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. My heart just ached, I wanted answers to how this could happen. Of course, you go through all the emotion: shock, upset, anger, and then you just start praying. Praying for a cure, praying to take the pain away. If you know my family and my sister in law’s family you probably would guess that we didn’t just accept the diagnosis and do nothing. We formed Sal’s Pals, a group of family and friends that are dedicated to finding a cure for Sal and others with this disease. We organized our first dinner auction. And then another, and another. We added casino bus trips, golf outings, wine tastings, and kids’ carnivals. We were on a mission and we weren’t going to stop until we had a cure.
The phone call … It was early afternoon on February 3, 2014 that I received a call from my sister in law Jenny, Sal’s mom. Again, I could hear the sadness in her voice as she told me that Sal was just diagnosed with Cystic fibrosis – related diabetes (CFRD). My heart ached again, I wanted to somehow reach through the phone and hold Jenny as tight as I could. I started asking again how this can happen. After all we have been faithfully raising funds for a cure. The emotions were overwhelming. It was like we took another step back instead of forward.
Well you guessed it, we kept on going. Reaching out to our co-workers, neighbors, just about anybody that we knew to help us. We knew we couldn’t do this alone.
I am writing this blog the day after a meeting with the Sal’s Pals committee. We are only four weeks from our 14th annual dinner auction. Although they have created a medicine that treats the disease in the past few years, we are still not done. We still need to find the cure so that the next phone call…. “We did it, they have cured cystic fibrosis.”
With all my love ~ Aunt Vicki
“You have not lived until you have given to someone who can never repay you” ~ John Bunyan