A few years ago, before PTA President Jen Taylor knew , she said she would be surprised by the support of a community and the nation after a family lost their 10-year-old son to cancer.
But, after knowing Gino for the last few years, she said she knew the community and the nation would be compassionate and supporitve of the Altieri family — whether they knew them or not.
Nearly from states all over the country and even in England to say they were joining in the light vigil campaign for Gino. Many said they did not know Gino or the family.
Gino is survived by his parents Domenic and Gina; sister Adelina; grandparents Eduardo and Maria Altieri and Don and Gail Laney; plus numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.
"You know ... if you would have asked me a couple of years ago, I may have been surprised by all the support. However, the last couple of years has taught me so much about the ability for strangers to share true compassion with each other. I have seen great things happen in our community," she said.
who died June 24 from Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma — an aggressive pediatric cancer that affected his soft tissue since Sept. 14 2010.
"It's times like this ... the hard times, the unfair and beyond painful and without comprehension ones that I find some resolve in my quest to find the purpose of life," Taylor said. "I feel 'HIS' power more now than ever and I know that is what Gino's reason for life was — to give us a gift. His gift to me will be different than his to you. His gift to me was faith."
Taylor said the Altieri family was able to touch so many lives, of people they knew and of people they never met, because of their determination despite the challenges they were facing.
"It's hard to really be able to speak for others but I would say that seeing a child and his family go through this type of journey is a heartbreaking inspiration. Normal for them is not even comprehendible for us," she said. "I think Gino and his family touched lives because every time I saw the family, they had smiles on their faces. They had determination, spirit, spunk — all the things I would never want to be during that time. Like I said they renewed my faith in God and more so in humanity. And, [Sunday] God saw Gino's purpose fulfilled."
Calling hours for Gino are scheduled for Wednesday and a funeral is scheduled for Thursday..