A mission of love, a fight for a cure

While he might or might not remember his parents’ efforts to find a cure for his disease, he will look back and value all that they did.

Pietro Scarso is only three years old, at the moment, and his parents Manni and Dayna have gone above and beyond to see him prosper, which is why, since the moment they found out their older child had been diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), they started an endless battle against the odds. The truth is DMD is rare and because, as they’ve explained, there aren’t enough kids affected (one in 350,000), they believe that not enough is being done to find a cure.

On March 7, Pietro’s first official fundraiser at El Caribe, located in Mill Basin, was attended by 600 guests – many of whom had no idea of what DMD is, but who now know that together they can make a difference. A lot of money was raised, and fun was had by all.

DMD has become the Scarsos’ number one priority, and their number one motivation. Not only their community, Bay Ridge, knows about them, but because they have been on multiple televised programs, Brooklyn has heard of this fatal genetic disorder that commonly leaves children bound to a wheelchair by the age of 12.

The Scarsos plan to be one of many exceptions to the unfortunate statistics, which is why they have created a non-profit organization to raise funds for the necessary research so that children such as Pietro can live a full life. Awareness is raised with each fundraiser, creating a more conscious environment.

“Our first fundraiser was a huge success, and it won’t stop there,” exclaimed Dayna, thanking everyone who attended, donated and volunteered to make what they called “Fight Night” come true. “You have all joined a fight, Pietro’s Fight, and with your support and strength, we envision a cure.”

Amongst the many present was State Senator Martin Golden, who has partnered with the Scarsos to find a cure. Earlier this year, Golden invited the family to Albany to introduce a resolution bringing New York State awareness to Pietro’s Fight. They presented Golden with a gift on the night. Also in attendance was Laurie Cahill, former Muay Thai fighter, who came out of retirement and won against her opponent, with all the proceeds donated to the cause.

“They’re up against a ticking clock, but they’re fighting,” said John Quaglione, Golden’s deputy chief of staff and now a candidate for City Council, who at the event met other families with DMD from Staten Island and Queens, adding, “We’re right there with them on their fight and other families’ fights.”

The sum raised was $75,000. It went towards Halo Therapeutics, a biotechnology company with a world-class team of development experts, explained Dayna.

Dr. Michael G. Vitale MD MPH, the chief of the Pediatric Spine and Scoliosis Service and associate chief of the Division of Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery at the Children’s Hospital of New York- Presbyterian, spoke a few words about DMD and Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello ended the speeches with a prayer and a blessing.

“They’re doing everything they can to make this kid’s life as normal as possible,” Quaglione added. “They’re truly very inspiring and they’re not going to let this kid go without a fight.”

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