Dyker Heights boy with rare disease awarded American flag

Dyker Heights’ own Giuseppe Parelli is local Congressmember Dan Donovan’s hero.

On Wednesday, August 3, Donovan presented 16-year-old Giuseppe and his family with an American flag at Donovan’s Brooklyn district office in Dyker Heights.  The flag was flown over the U.S Capitol to honor Parelli’s fight against Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), a rare genetic connective tissue disorder.

“Giuseppe Parelli, you are a true fighter,” said Donovan.

Donovan thanked and acknowledged Parelli and his family’s courage for continuing to fight the disease. Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) affects one out of 20,000 people in the United States and has no cure. In 2015, Giuseppe was diagnosed in with a form of EB-related cancer and had to have his foot amputated that December.

“You did not earn this because you’re sick. You earned this because of what you’ve accomplished with your illness,” said Donovan.

Giuseppe’s mother, Janine Parelli, was moved by the gesture. She is grateful to see the community rally around her son and family.

“We don’t just walk away and go home. We walk away with a memory to help him get through his daily struggle,” said Parelli.

Throughout the summer, the Dyker Heights community has given back to Giuseppe and his family by holding fundraisers to show how much they admire his courage and strength.

Parelli believes that while fighting the disease is difficult, making memories like this with Giuseppe and the rest of the family is what really gets them through the rough times.

“It’s a lot on the whole family, but we always take away something beautiful from things like this,” said Parelli.

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