Giovanni “Gio” Toribio, 7, was cheered on by his second-grade classmates in an assembly where representatives from Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital presented him with an official sash designating him as an ambassador of the hospital’s 15th Annual Go the Distance Walk and Family Fun Day, scheduled for September 15. The annual fundraiser for the Hudson Valley’s children’s hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth), regularly draws thousands of participants.
Gio was joined by Ossining’s Brookside Elementary School principal, Ann Dealy; his mother, Lauren; brother, Lorenzo; and his grandmother, along with more than 40 classmates and peers. Jessica Hochberg, MD, Associate Director of the Childhood and Adolescent Cancer and Blood Disease Center at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, spoke of Gio’s bravery and his ability to “roll with the punches.”
Gio was diagnosed with Stage 3 anaplastic large cell lymphoma in 2016 at age 4. He had tumors all over his body, including his brain. Gio had two surgeries to remove the brain tumors and has had six surgeries in all which, combined with other treatments, have put his cancer into remission. Unrelated to the cancer, Gio was also diagnosed with McCune-Albright syndrome, which impacts the integrity of his bones, making them more susceptible to fracture. Despite this challenge, Gio loves to watch and participate in sports. He has met many New York sports celebrities and even scored a ceremonial touchdown in a New York Jets scrimmage.
As one of three Go the Distance Walk and Family Fun Day ambassadors, Gio will help represent the more than 30,000 seriously ill and injured children cared for by Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital annually. Also named as ambassadors for the walk were Asher Levy-Dahl, 7, of Cornwall and Yashwini Bobde, 4, of Briarcliff Manor.
To register for the Go the Distance Walk and Family Fun Day, visit events.westchestermedicalcenter.com/GTD19.
Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital is the children’s hospital for New York’s Hudson Valley region and Fairfield County, Connecticut. Located in Valhalla, NY, this 136-bed advanced pediatrics facility cares for the region’s most seriously ill and injured children including those in need of cardiac surgery, neurosurgery, hematology and oncology treatments, organ transplants and other specialty pediatric services. Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital is also home to the area’s only Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Level I pediatric trauma and burn care programs and its Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. For more information on Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, interested parties can visit WestchesterMedicalCenter.org/MFCH.