A person's birthday is supposed to be a time of celebration and gift giving, but this year, Geno Forchione was given a very different type of birthday gift.
For anyone that knows Geno Forchione, he can be described as funny, hardworking, loyal and generous. On an average day, you would likely find him early in the morning with his pals at one of the local Starbucks. Once he's made everyone in the building smile with a pun or a one-liner, Geno’s days have consisted of driving to area schools and businesses to fix and repair their office printing equipment. Through his hard work and dedication, he’s developed countless relationships with the community. After a long day of service calls, you could find Geno at home spending time with his family, working in the lawn, playing golf on his computer, or, perhaps most importantly spending quality time with his granddaughter, Katyn during their favorite “Home Depot Days”. This has been Geno's routine for nearly 25 years.
In late January of 2019, Geno was finishing up one of his service calls by tossing some spare parts into the back of his car when he slipped on ice. As a young man, Geno played football, and he will emphatically explain that he has fallen a lot in his life, “but I’ve never fell like this.” Once he gathered himself and got into the driver’s seat of his car, his first thought was, “maybe God made me fall”. He told his family about the fall, and while they were concerned when they felt the lump on the back of his head, he assured everyone that if the pain got bad, he would go get it checked out.
A few weeks after the fall, Geno had a shooting pain from his neck to the top of his head. He told Karen, his high school sweetheart, and wife of 38 years, about the pain, and they decided to go and get checked out at the emergency room. Before they left the house, Geno has a gut feeling, and told Karen that he just felt their lives were going to change if they went to the emergency room...At that point he had no idea just how much their lives would be changed.
After going to the emergency room that Saturday evening and having tests run, he received a call on his 59th birthday, February 27, 2019, from his doctor with test results that changed his life forever. The doctor insisted that he be rushed to The Cleveland Clinic where he was diagnosed with T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (T-ALL), a cancer of the blood and bone marrow, which is rare in adults and inoperable. It is an acute disease, meaning that it is an aggressive form of cancer that progresses quickly with no obvious symptoms or signs other than what one might experience with a typical cold or flu. While Geno had experienced some of these symptoms in the past, like many of us would do, he simply chalked them up to being just a part of getting older.
For a man that has worked his whole life to support his family, while rarely ever taking a sick day, this has been a huge adjustment, both physically and mentally. Since the diagnosis, Geno has been unable to work, and therefore unable to provide for his family. Being 3 years away from retirement, he could see the light at the end of the very labor-intensive tunnel and he was so looking forward to the opportunity to enjoy his family in retirement.
While this diagnosis has been a surprising, frightening and life-changing whirlwind for Geno, and his family, it has also been a “gift” in a sense, one that ironically was handed to him on his birthday. You see, Geno could have gone many more weeks or months without ever knowing that there was a problem in his body. But through a series of coincidences, and being in the right place, with the right doctors, Geno ended up in one of the most renowned hospitals in the world for his treatment.
This GoFundMe page has been created to help support Geno as he continues his fight against this aggressive cancer. The hope is that this will help Geno with the upcoming, unforeseen costs associated with his care and treatment, while easing his mind so that he may focus wholly on his recovery.
Since his diagnosis, Geno is now being treated by some of the best doctors and nurses in the world at The Cleveland Clinic, where they have been working to develop a strategy to get him back to sitting in Starbucks with his friends, spending time with his family, and working in the schools and offices with his favorite friends and customers. During this very lengthy hospital stay, much of his strength and hope has been found in the eyes of the people who are caring for him, and he is so appreciative of all of his family, friends, and the hospital staff which he now considers a special part of his family.
Geno is one of the most loving, hilarious, strong, resilient, FUN, and full of life individuals that you will ever meet. He is the type of person you can instantly connect with when you meet him, and he’s always the first to be on your side, and make you feel special (but never without that classic one-liner, which makes him so loved). ❤️
Geno loves his family, friends, and the work family that he’s created over his 20+ years in the Stark County Schools and he misses them all more and more each day, as he continues his painful treatment that suppresses his immune system. While he’s being treated with this intense chemotherapy, please know that visits can be extremely dangerous so we ask that while you may be inclined to visit with him or his family- we promise to update and let you know when his immune system can handle seeing your smiling faces in person!
Geno’s family is beyond appreciative of the kind gestures of meals being offered. At this time, meals are covered through April 15, 2019, and we will post anything that the family may need after that point on this page. Again, thank you all. It truly takes a village to get through a situation like this, and you are all sincerely appreciated!
We will do our best to update everyone on Geno’s fight on this GoFundMe page! Thank you in advance for all of your gracious donations, love, kind words and generosity. If you are unable to donate at this time, please share this link with others that you may know, and be sure to post your kind words, inspirational messages or just drop in to say hello on this page and we will make sure Geno gets your thoughts and prayers! ️
Geno has always been known to be there to there to pick others up when they are down, and now it's our turn!
We can’t wait for Geno to be back on his feet and feeling like his old self so that we can celebrate his birthday the way birthdays are supposed to be celebrated!
Thank you again for your generosity, thoughts and prayers! ❤️
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9