By Carol Ann Benanti Staten Island Advance
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — A Staten Island family has launched a social media and fundraising campaign titled “Heart for Jake” for the purpose of coming to the aid of 21-month-old Jake Schron who needs a new heart — and to help support his family financially.
Diagnosed with incurable end-stage cardiomyopathy, Jake is currently a patient at Montefiore Medical Center, Manhattan, where he’s waiting for a heart transplant. The first in a series of events, in partnership with The Carl V. Bini Memorial Fund, was held on Feb. 15th at Adriana’s and attended by more than 350 people.
“It was an amazing turnout,” said Patrick Chanod, family friend of the Schron’s and one of the organizers of the event. “The outpouring from the community has been overwhelming, and because of their support the Schron family will be able to persevere amidst the many difficulties they currently face.”
Jake’s parents, Shannon and Andrew, are also the parents of 3-year old twin daughters and Andrew has been in and out of the hospital after a bone marrow transplant he underwent to combat his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Shannon, a special education teacher at PS 373 in New Brighton, has been balancing her husband and son’s health issues along with the needs of her daughters on one income. Funding raised will be used for medical bills as well as the mortgage and other basic necessitates the family is currently struggling with.
“We cannot thank everyone enough,” said Shannon Schron. “Dealing with the medical conditions of my son and husband while raising our twins has put tremendous financial pressure on our family, but the support we have received will ensure that when Jake receives his new heart, he’ll have a home to return to.” Adriana’s donated the space and services for the fundraiser that featured musical performances from American Idol Finalist, Brielle Von Hugel, local bands, an appearance by Miss Richmond County, Alyssa Marie DePaolis, and entertainment courtesy of Partners in Sound and Pro Sho Productions. In addition, The Dr. Theodore Atlas Foundation was also in attendance and presented the family with a check for $5,000.
“We are privileged to work with this family,” said Massimo DiDonnna, cofounder of The Carl V. Bini Memorial Fund, the event sponsor. “The Bini Fund will continue helping them until their needs are met.
In addition to the events, the Schron family has also leveraged social media as a means by which to increase awareness and garner additional support – amassing more than 3,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter (@heart4jake).
The family has experienced an outpouring of support from friends, family, strangers, and even celebrities, such as former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner, showcasing the “I Heart Jake” logo.