STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — The community came together this past weekend in support of a toddler with a rare heart condition — raising $6,580 during a benefit event featuring a motorcycle ride and a party.
The event was a success, thanks to generosity of employees, superviors, and friends of the Department of Sanitation, according John Newell and Michael Cancelleri, event organizers.
“We had a great turn out for an amazing family, and we said a prayer at the fundraiser because, unfortunately, Sami wound up in the hospital again on Sunday morning,” said Newell, explaining that the toddler is now home from the hospital.
Samara “Sami” Giobbie, 14 months old, of Annadale, was born with hypoplastic right heart syndrome with tricuspid atresia. The condition requires Sami to undergo multiple heart surgeries, eventually leading to a heart transplant when she is an adult.
“Basically, she has half a heart because the tricuspid valve between the right upper and lower chamber never formed,” Sami’s father, Russ Giobbie, told the Advance. “The right side of her heart, which is responsible for sending blood to the lungs, is useless.”
All funds raised at Sunday’s event — which consisted of a motorcycle ride starting at Harley Davidson on Forest Avenue and ended with a party at Waterside Cafe on Ellis Street — will be used to help with the mounting medical bills.
Baby Sami has already endured open heart surgery at 4 days old, a heart attack, and stroke, for which she became paralyzed on the right side of body, in addition to lengthy hospital stays at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Children’s Hospital.
Supporters of the event included: Gina Marie Cakes and Co, Weichert Realtors Evolution Group, Arts and Drafts, Ink Stained Tattoo, Garage Living of New Jersey, The New York Yankees, Unreal Escapes, Waterside Cafe, Harley Davidson of Staten Island, Real Abstract LTD, and Matthew Woitkwski Real Estate Attorney.”
Concerned Staten Islanders who still want help are being directed to Sami’s GoFundMe fundraising page.