Galorenzo Foundation commemorates teen’s life
Sixteen-year-old Daniel Galorenzo of Morris Plains, N.J., played clarinet in his school band and dreamed of being a rock star. He also was a gifted athlete who competed on Seton Hall Prep School’s varsity soccer and wrestling teams. Following a victorious wrestling match on Feb. 6, 2002, he was helping teammates roll up mats when he suddenly was overcome by crippling pain. He was rushed to a local hospital, where he passed away during emergency surgery for an aortic aneurysm.
Daniel’s parents, Allen and JoAnn, and his older brother, Brad, then 17, were devastated. Even now, Allen Galorenzo says, words sometimes fail him when he is asked about his son.
“His most noticeable quality was his infectious smile,” he says. “He had a great smile.”
With his quick, sarcastic wit and playful charm, Daniel was able to win over a new friend or warm up a roomful of people, his parents say.
For two years, the family coped quietly with their grief. Then, one day, while Allen Galorenzo and his lifetime friend, Phil Orsi, were golfing – a pastime Daniel also enjoyed – they conceived the idea of establishing a foundation in Daniel’s memory that would raise money for children with life-threatening illnesses. This fundraising effort would be centered around a golf outing.
The first event in 2004 raised $30,000. Since then, the Daniel Galorenzo Foundation has raised more than $300,000, with proceeds going to programs that directly help children. In 2005, they decided to help the Pediatric Institute & Children’s Hospital when Mr. Orsi’s wife, Liz, gave them a Cleveland Clinic publication that included an article on aortic aneurysms.
“I believe it was fate,” Mr. Galorenzo says.
Since then, the foundation has made numerous gifts to the Children’s Hospital including a distraction machine featuring lights, bubbles and images that divert children’s attention during their treatments; flat-screen TVs and DVDs for patients; and sleeper chairs for parents.
“We want to restore some dignity to children who are going through serious illnesses,” Mr. Galorenzo says. Their gifts also help keep Daniel’s memory alive.
Engraved plates on the donated equipment show that the gifts are from the Daniel Galorenzo Foundation.
“We like the fact that Daniel’s name is there and that someone will look at that nameplate and wonder who he was,” Mr. Galorenzo says.
Story originally appeared in Catalyst, Fall 2008.
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