Building up

Name: Santino
Age at diagnosis: 8 years
Diagnosis: Acute lymphoblastic leukemia
How Family Reach helped: Grant for unpaid medical bills

In March 2014, Arthur and Michelle Anastasia noticed a bump on 8-year-old Santino’s head and caught him limping while he walked. They took him straight to the doctor, where he was soon diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. In the midst of this news, the family was running their ice cream business and caring for their other 2 children, Santino’s teenage sister and his 4-year-old brother.

One struggle followed another for the Anastasia family. While busy traveling to and from the Valerie Fund at Newark Beth Israel Hospital, they also found out they had mold growing in their home. While living with Santino’s grandmother during the mold repair, a fire started in their home and burned it to the ground. “I’m done crying, it’s time to move on,” Michelle said.

Drowning in medical bills, Arthur and Michelle couldn’t keep up with everyday living. They spent too much time discussing how to pay expenses while Santino’s health worsened. A family friend and social worker brought the Anastasia family to Family Reach, which provided a grant to pay their uncovered medical bills. “We needed help, and they were there,” Arthur said.

Today, Santino loves building things: towers, waterfalls, you name it. His parents, Arthur and Michelle, are convinced he will grow up to be an engineer. Although those plans are still very real, the Anastasias still need assistance and were the featured family at the Family Reach 2014 New Jersey Golf Tournament.

Last update: August 1, 2014