Brooklyn love – to Virginia and back

December 11, 2012 Editorial Staff
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Six-year-old Nathan Norman’s bright eyes were even brighter when he saw what was coming his way – straight from Brooklyn with love.

The youngster, from Rustburg, Virginia, was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2009 when he was just a year old. He has neuroblastoma, a deadly and inoperable type of cancer, and his holiday wish was to be recognized by first responders and emergency personnel, which is why Certified Paramedic Joseph Scarpinito from Bay Ridge left his house at midnight on December 5 to drive eight-and-a-half hours to see him in the morning.

To brighten Nathan’s holidays, Scarpinito drove a 15-passenger van loaded up with toys and cards, as well as real paramedics and EMTs. “The family knows that we’re coming down,” Scarpinito said earlier that day. “There are six of us from Brooklyn.

“I’ve been driving around all day collecting packages,” added Scarpinito, a stage two lymphoma survivor who has worked for Lutheran Medical Center for the past eight years. “All for him! He’ll be surrounded by emergency workers.

“I have uniform shirts, emergency board games,” he added.

Nathan has been celebrating Christmas since September when the family started decorating early for the holidays; the word was out and the Normans have been receiving hundreds of packages and cards a day from all over the country and other countries, not only for Nathan, but also for his three siblings.

Frank Chiaramonte, 25, Scarpinito’s cousin, who has worked for the American Cancer Society for the past 11½ months, joined in for the trip. He was diagnosed with lymphoma when he was 23, giving him a new outlook on life.

“He doesn’t have to wish no more,” Chiaramonte said, “We’re coming.

“God gave me a second chance, any free time I have I give that to any person that deals with cancer,” he added.

When the crew came back to Brooklyn, this newspaper received an e-mail that told about the trip. Scarpinito said he loved every moment spent with Nathan and remarked that “he’s a true hero.” Not only is he fighting for his life, but he’s also thinking about other sick kids who are in hospitals and who will not be home for the holidays. What Nathan with his heart of gold did will never be forgotten.

“While I was there, Nathan and the family asked if I could bring holiday packages back to New York,” said Scarpinito, “I wondered what the packages were,” he went on, not realizing that what Nathan really wanted was for his gifts to be brought back to hospital pediatric facilities and be distributed in New York City.

When this reporter spoke to Nathan, the little boy said that the toys were “for them [other sick children] to have fun.” I got candy land,” he shouted. Nathan’s older brother and sister, Matthew,7, and Sarah,10, were astounded with the amount of toys they also have received. “It is really cool,” Matthew said, “they gave us a lot of presents!”

Dawn and Bobby, Nathan’s parents, said that “the Lord has blessed their [the paramedics’] efforts.” Although the family was taking some much-needed family time, they picked up the phone and spoke of how wonderful the contributions by the community have been. “They took off their shirts and gave them to the kids,” Bobby said. Dawn said that they plan to take the kids to New York City sometime in the spring and that the paramedics offered to take them around when they come.

“This is amazing, that with all this little hero is going through, he is worried about other sick children,” Scarpinito exclaimed. “How can I say no? So I went to Nathan with a total of seven people and a 15-passenger van filled with items for Nathan, and I now return to New York City with seven people and a 15-passenger van filled from bottom to top with boxes of gifts for the sick children that are in New York City hospital pediatric units.”

Check out Nathan’s Facebook page:

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