Pictured is the son of two of our dearest clients, Joe and Sofie Calamita. When you see them at Shoreline CrossFit, smiling, you’d never know of many of the struggles that they’ve endured (and continue to) at home. Both Joe and Sofie are veterans and both served tours in Iraq. They have been blessed to be the recipients of this year’s Valley Angels for Families’ Annual Golf Charity. Valley Angels for families was formed back in 2011. It is a local charity that is designed to help local families through difficult times. The foundation is a non-for-profit organization, which redistributes 100% back to the charity with no administration fees.
Here is a short note below written by Sofie, Joey’s mother, regarding his disability:
Hello, my name is Sofia Calamita, and I am writing to you today with the hope that you will be a sponsor the 2014 Golf Tournament honoring our son, Joseph John Calamita IV.
Shortly after returning from an 18th month tour in Iraq, my husband, Joseph, and I decided to start a family. On March 3rd 2007, our son, Joey, was born. Prior to leaving the hospital, the doctors were concerned about Joey’s weight loss and inability to suck, which in turn, made it difficult for him to eat. They assured us that everything was normal and that this was common with newborns. The next day, we went to the hospital and had blood work done. By the time we got home from Yale New Haven Hospital, we were already receiving calls from the doctor telling us that the bilirubin levels in Joey’s blood were extremely high, and that we needed to take him to the hospital immediately for therapy. At one point during that stay in the hospital, Joey’s levels were so high that they were not sure if he would make it through the night. Luckily, Joey fought hard, and we were once again ready to go home, all the while thinking the worst was behind us.
Unfortunately, that feeling did not last for too long. Within two months of coming home, we were back in the hospital again. During one of Joey’s many early morning diaper changes, we discovered a double hernia; so at 3am, we are off to Yale for emergency surgery. But, like a trooper, Joey pulled through again and was finally eating and gaining weight.
Fast forward a year of many sleepless nights due to high fevers, colds, and not yet talking or walking, we found out that Joey was only able to hear at thirty percent in each ear. Therefore, he was back in the hospital for what would be the first of three surgeries.
At two years old, Joey still was not able to walk, despite being in therapy for over a year. For the next four years Joey had to undergo testing which included MRI’s, blood work, EEG’s, speech evaluations, and even genetic testing in Boston. During a series of the testing, Joey was diagnosed with a seizure disorder. As if all of this was not enough to deal with, my husband and I felt the effects financially as well as emotionally considering the fact that some of the testing was not covered by our insurance because there was no diagnosis yet.
Finally after four years, a diagnosis was made. Joey was diagnosed with microcephaly. Microcephaly is a rare neurological condition in which an infant’s head is significantly smaller than the heads of other children of the same age and sex. Sometimes detected at birth, microcephaly usually is the result of the brain developing abnormally in the womb or not growing as it should after birth. Microcephaly can be caused by a variety of genetic and environmental factors. Children with microcephaly often have developmental issues such as the one’s Joey was experiencing. Generally, there is no treatment for microcephaly, but early intervention and aggressive therapies may help enhance development and improve quality of life.
Today, Joey continues to work hard and improve developmentally. From learning how to suck, drink his milk, talk, and walk on his own, Joey is now attending the first grade. Joey continues to struggle, however has improved tremendously since the day we brought him home, and even when he is having his most difficult day, Joey still always manages to make us laugh and put a smile on our faces.
It is easy to take for granted the fact that so many of us have strong, healthy children. This is really quite a blessing for which we should be grateful. If you have the means, please, consider donating to Joey’s cause. The golf tournament will be held on Sunday, August 10, 2014 at Grassy Hill Country Club in Orange, CT with a 1pm tee time. Dinner will be at La Sala at 6pm for those of you that are not golfing. Donations and prizes are welcome. If you are interested in golfing, attending the dinner, or simply donating, please email Joe at Jjcal68@yahoo.com or Sofie at email@example.com and they will get back to you with any pertinent information.
My heart is always more than warmed when I see how the Shoreline CrossFit family comes together to support one of our own in need, and I’m sure this will be no different!