Family and friends Rally for Rocco

October 2, 2014 Meaghan McGoldrick
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Supporters of two-year-old Rocco Morabito – a bright eyed boy with a laundry list of medical problems but a big heart – gathered at Russo’s on the Bay in late summer to “Rally for Rocco” and raise money for a new set of wheels.

“Rocco is one of the absolute strongest little guys I know, and with the help of everyone who donated and supported him in any way with Rally for Rocco, I know that he will be that much stronger,” said Rocco’s 23-year-old cousin, Alexa Morabito. “I always knew my family was strong and could get through pretty much anything that has been thrown at us, and that’s exactly why we were blessed with Rocco.”

Rocco, three years old this December, was born to Bensonhurst native and local firefighter John Morabito and his wife, Laura, with severe global brain damage known as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) as well as Spastic Quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy and chronic lung disease.

Because of that, he cannot see, speak, walk or breathe unaided.

Additionally, the family said, their boy cannot smile or cry, nor can he swallow or move his mouth, therefore requiring a feeding tube at all times. Also legally blind, Rocco requires 24-hour medical care.

With expenses adding up, the Morabitos – with a little help from family and friends – organized Rally for Rocco’s Ride, an evening affair to raise funds for a special van to get their boy to and from countless doctors’ appointments and a special school.

The van, with a price tag of $85,000 and a $30,000 down payment to boot, will allow Rocco’s parents to lock his wheelchair in place and keep his medical equipment at arm’s reach.

“Rally for Rocco exceeded any expectation I could’ve possibly imagined,” said Alexa of the fundraiser’s smashing success. “The amount of love and support that not only I have for Rocco, but that my whole family does was multiplied by millions that night.

“My uncle said it perfectly that night,” she went on, echoing Rocco’s father. “Rocco is exactly where he was supposed to be with all of these people around him because we are all the people who would love him unconditionally no matter what he needs. Truthfully, I think we needed him to remind us that a little bit of love can go a long way.”

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