Team Julia

Hi, my name is Amerina Petrucci and I am starting this fundraiser for my cousin's daughter, Julia Morreale and her family. My cousin Nadia and her husband Elio (and their 2 other children Anthony and Emily), have been dealing with a medical nightmare for the last 14 years. They are from Toronto, Canada and they uplifted their family to the United States to seek life saving treatment from Memorial Sloan Kettering as they exhausted all other medical treatment available in Canada. As the family has been fighting for years, they are now facing the end treatment option for Julia.

Last week, on Julia’s 15th birthday, the doctors notified the family that Julia’s disease is showing progression and the only chance for cure is a bone marrow transplant. Julia would be the first heart transplant patient to have a bone marrow transplant at MSK making this a risky and experimental treatment. Given this, it is unsure if insurance will cover any financial impact the transplant will have on the family. As you can imagine, the cost of a bone marrow transplant is staggering, and the family is working tirelessly to gather the funds needed. They are doing everything in their power to cover all the costs but would still need additional funds to offset other costs. For example, the cost of being an inpatient for an extended period of time, lost income, the cost to care for their other 2 children, and help with other day to day expenses while caring for a sick child, etc.

This family has incurred and will continue to incur enormous expenses. Let’s help them take away some of the financial burden that comes with having a sick child so they can focus on Julia.

In order to expand the chance of finding a suitable donor for Julia, the family will be holding a Bone Marrow Drive. In order to get as many people to the drive to be tested, the family will cover all costs associated with this drive. We will update the page as to when and where the donor drive will be. Let’s get as many people as possible out to this drive to find a donor for Julia.

Below is Julia's journey written by her mother.

“On Sept 8th, 2005 we welcomed a beautiful healthy baby girl into our lives – Julia Alexia Morreale. Nobody could have prepared us for what was going to happen next. In February 2006 (at 5 months old) Julia had what seemed like a cold, but what we thought was a cold ended up being a virus that attacked her heart. This is what led us to Julia needing a heart transplant at 8 months old. We are forever grateful to our donor family! By the end of 2008 (at 3 years old) we noticed that there was something wrong. A few months later we heard the words no parent ever wants to hear, Julia had cancer, Post Transplant Lymphoma Disease (a rare form of cancer associated with transplant). Julia was immediately started on a very high dose of chemotherapy. From the age of 3 to 5 years old, Julia had multiple rounds of chemo and relapses. In late 2011 (at age 5) Julia relapsed for the 5th time. We were told that there was nothing new Sick Kids could offer us. However, our oncologist had found a clinical trial Memorial Sloan Kettering in NYC that was using cell therapy (something we do not do here in Canada). During the trial there were multiple cases when we thought we were going to lose Julia, but by the grace of God she continued living.

Between the age of 5 and 9, bringing us to 2014, Julia continued her treatments at Memorial Sloan Kettering while my husband and I lived at the Ronald McDonald house. Our other 2 children remained at home in Canada with family. This separation in our family was very stressful and continued for years until we decided as a family that it would be most beneficial for all of us to relocate to the U.S. to be together again. While getting treatments by Sloan Kettering, we were also all dealing with getting accustomed to the new country we were now living in.

In 2017, at the age of 12, we discovered Julia developed MDS (a group of malignant blood disorders in which the bone marrow fails to produce healthy blood cells). The doctors stated the only option to cure MDS is a bone marrow transplant. The MDS was being managed when it was first diagnosed. During this managed period, Julia was able to attend school for the first time in her life. She was able to attend school on and off for the last 3 years although extremely behind academically, but she was at least able to experience a little bit of normalcy.

Bringing us to today, during a routine bone marrow biopsy, we had learned that the MDS showed progression of the disease. Because the disease progressed, Julia is now in need of a bone marrow transplant as her only option of survival. Being that Julia will be the first heart transplant patient to receive a bone marrow transplant at MSK, we are unsure if insurance will cover this. The doctors would like to start a bone marrow search immediately to find Julia a candidate for the procedure. As any parent would, we will do anything that we can to save our child.”

Let's rally together and help Julia, as every child deserves to live a long, full life.
 
Thank You

Amerina Petrucci

Donations

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  • Anonymous 
    • $250 
    • 5 mins
  • Angela Rodrigues 
    • $20 
    • 33 mins
  • Lauren Ceccarelli 
    • $75 
    • 17 hrs
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 19 hrs
  • Nancy Noonan 
    • $500 
    • 22 hrs
See all

Fundraising team (3)

Amerina Petrucci 
Organizer
Raised $8,495 from 78 donations
Clark, NJ
Nadia Morreale 
Beneficiary
Angela Cook 
Team member
Raised $1,455 from 17 donations

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