On the Avenue: All aboard the AFG Love Train This February!

People all over Brooklyn, join hands. Start a love train “on the avenue” this February!

The Anthony Filippazzo Grant for Williams Syndrome Research (AFG) has announced a new initiative designed to spread joy and raise awareness of the rare genetic disorder affecting approximately one in 10,000 people worldwide, including Brooklyn youth Anthony Filippazzo.

Young Anthony — son of Brooklyn attorneys Stefano Filippazzo and Camille Fortunato — suffers from Williams syndrome, which has caused stenosis in his aorta and in his pulmonary artery, preventing the valve from opening fully and restricting the oxygen flowing from his heart and lungs. He also experiences sudden instances of rapid heartbeat due to an abnormality that required surgery.

Yet throughout his many medical ordeals, the charismatic youngster has kept on smiling, eager to bring joy and compassion to the world. That desire has inspired his parents to create a real-life train car that will be making appearances “on the avenue” and beyond all month long.

Anthony’s parents Stefano Filippazzo (left) and Camille Fortunato — both prominent Brooklyn attorneys — are also active members of the community. They are pictured here supporting Maimonides Health’s recent Community for Kids Benefit Gala at El Caribe Caterers. Eagle Urban Media/Photo by Rick Buttacavoli

The AFG Love Train will be leaving the station and hitting the road on Feb. 7, according to Fortunato, who said that all are welcome to “take a ride” and share their experience on social media.

“Yes, we are actually in the process of building a train car!” she said. “The goal is really just to spread love and raise awareness.”

Anthony recently attended the 2023 Little North Pole event at the Neponsit Beach, Queens home of prominent local attorney and Kiwanis Club of Bensonhurst & Bay Ridge board member Joseph Mure Jr., where he danced along to live performances and spoke to the enormous crowd from center stage.

The event served as a fundraiser for AFG and other notable organizations, including the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

“In a world full of things Anthony struggles to do, what comes freely, most naturally and with no needed assistance is his gift of unconditional love,” Fortunato said. “Our train will be traveling throughout the month to families, friends and local businesses who support rare diseases and neurodiverse individuals and who are ready to jump aboard with their love and raise awareness for Williams syndrome.”

The Anthony Filippazzo Grant for Williams Syndrome Research is hosting a “Love Train” event to spread awareness and love throughout the five boroughs. Image courtesy of AFG

One confirmed stop “on the avenue” is Clemente’s Maryland Crab House, 3939 Emmons Ave., which will host Anthony and friends beginning at 4 p.m. on Feb. 11. For information on how you can “ride the train” and support AFG, send a direct message via Instagram @afresearchgrant.

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