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You can help the Marino family

For two years Christine Marino was told she had heart burn, but nothing seemed to help.
Then, on a family trip to Disney World, she seemingly got worse.
“She was not doing well, so I told her she had to see a doctor as soon as we got back,” said her husband Paul.
That was in late 2009.
Now, the 37-year-old mother has hospice care in her Howard Beach home, and the family – which has no health insurance – needs your help.
On Friday, January 28, there will be a fundraising dinner at the Ave Maria Catholic Academy School Hall to help support the Marino family.
In a true show of solidarity, the surrounding Howard Beach community – the school, the children, the parents, even those involved in the Ozone Howard Little League, where Marino is a coach – have come together for the family.
“The whole school, the whole community is rallying,” said Ave Maria principal Maria Cuomo, who donated the space. “We pray for Christine every day. We want to show Paul we’re here for him.”
In fact, this past Friday, the students contributed at least $5 each to dress down, and the eighth grade parents are getting involved as well.
Some of those who are getting involved – and spearheading the fundraising efforts – include Michael Conley, who coached little league with Marino, and Christine Modafferi, whose son is in the eighth grade with Paul Jr. and whose husband coaches as well.
Modafferi said she met with numerous parents, who each pledged to help.
“That’s what we do . . . we’re a Catholic school that comes together,” she said. “The children of Ave Maria really wanted to be there for the family.”
Marino, 42, told The Courier that initially doctors told them the mass they found was small, but after surgery, he was informed that it was Stage 4 cancer – and was in Christine’s stomach, esophagus . . . “it was everywhere,” he said.
Doctors removed one of her ovaries, and “were going to be aggressive and hit it with a lot of chemo.”
Christine underwent six months of treatment, during which time “they were giving her so much [chemotherapy] she couldn’t even walk.”
Marino said his wife’s esophagus did heal with the treatment, but doctors had to go back in and remove Christine’s stomach, spleen, appendix and other ovary.
“She lost a lot of weight, she couldn’t drink or eat, she was throwing up every day,” said Marino. “Now we’re at the point where all we can do is hospice care. She is too weak for surgery or chemo.”
Marino said that through it all, the couple’s son has become “my best friend, my life.”
And the support of the community, he said, is a welcome comfort.
“In times of need everyone comes together,” he said. “What everyone has done is amazing.”
The fundraising event begins at 7 p.m. on January 28 and features live entertainment by Generation Gap and catering courtesy of Gino’s of Lawrence and Baldwin. Among the prizes that will be raffled off will be a pre-owned automobile. Everything has been donated.
“We’re looking for a big turnout,” said Modafferi.
Prices for the benefit are $40 per adult and $10 per child (tickets may be purchased at the door, but R.S.V.P. is appreciated). If you’d like to donate, send to Ave Maria Catholic Academy, attention: Marino family.
For further information, please contact Michael Conley at 718-641-2128.

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