BY GABRIELLE GUZ
When Larry Morello and his partner Kristina welcomed their first child last December, they were ecstatic, but they knew their journey into parenthood would be met with difficulty: Larry — who has close ties with the Bay Ridge community — has been battling multiple sclerosis for over a decade, and recently, while attending to his baby, he fell and injured his kneecap, leaving him immobile.
To seek special treatment for his MS, Larry, who is from New York, had moved to San Diego several years ago.
Now, as a result of his recent injury, the family will be moving back to the East Coast, where they will be closer to family members who can support them and help raise their son.
Melissa Cafiero, Larry’s stepsister, has created a GoFundMe page. The family is seeking to raise funds for the move and for Larry’s medical services, including Lemtrada treatments, which he has been undergoing.
A goal of $10,000 was set on July 17, with 49 people raising $3,845 to date.
Part of the funds will be donated to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, a nonprofit that focuses on MS research and awareness.
Chip Cafiero, Larry’s stepfather and a special events coordinator in Bay Ridge, plays a large role in the fundraiser. He said that when his wife died 16 years ago, he had to raise five children all on his own. At that time, he said that he truly learned what it is to take on the role of a mother.
“It’s the hardest job in the world,” he said.
Cafiero said that he loves and cares for Larry as though he is his biological son.
“He’s my stepson, but I raised him. He is part of the family. His brothers and sisters, they are closer to him than most brothers and sisters are,” Cafiero said. “He used to be the most athletic in the family, but he is not going to be able to do much anymore. The MS has gotten to him. His left side is semi-paralyzed.”
But Cafiero added that Larry is a fighter, and that he is brave and optimistic, especially now that he is a father.
“[Larry] used to call me every day saying that he feels so good to have a baby — taking care of him, changing diapers, everything that a mother does,” Cafiero said. “It’s a thrill for a man to be able to do that.”
According to Cafiero, Larry can hardly move around the house now. His partner Kristina also had to leave work to take care of him and the baby.
Cafiero says that Larry’s large extended East Coast family is ready to step in and help.
“They can’t even pack up because he is an invalid and she’s got a baby,” Cafiero said. “His two sisters, my oldest and my youngest, are going out there for five or six days in August to help him pack up and get [his belongings] loaded onto the trucks.”
Cafiero remains optimistic that, with the help of donors and family, Larry will be taking care of his son again soon.
“We see a light in the tunnel. We know that everybody’s pulling together for him. We’ll make it happen,” Cafiero added. “They are coming a long way with things. He’s going to have to keep himself going. Once you have kids, your whole life changes. But he is strong, and he is going to fight.”
To donate to Larry’s fund, go to https://bit.ly/2SQGUxo.