For some, something as simple as a golf tournament can make a difference.
Each year, the David Blitz Memorial Golf Tournament selects someone in need and helps with their financial needs.
Blitz passed away four year ago after his battle with cancer and those around him wanted to honor him in the best way they knew how - give as he would.
The tournament started as a way to pay his daughters’ way through college and expanded from there. Last year, the proceeds from the tournament were donated to a family whose 17-year-old daughter was fighting her second battle with leukemia. Her cancer is in remission for a second time.
This year’s recipient will be New Britain native Emma Pagano.
Just four years old, Pagano suffers from a seizure disorder called Infantile Spasms, also known as West Syndrome. When she was just two days old, she had her first seizure and six months later, she was diagnosed with IS.
After two years of near-constant seizure activity, with 200 seizures in one day at times, Pagano reached the “seizure-free zone” in May 2015 after a long and difficult road that included various medical therapies.
Her seizures, however, returned in September 2016, but control was fortunately regained with medication, and again Pagano was seizure-free.
But in 2016, she was also diagnosed with Turner’s Syndrome, a genetic disorder consisting of symptoms such as short stature and lack of ovarian development.
Due to the severity of her Infantile Spasms, Pagano’s development was on pause, meaning she is globally delayed by about two years.
It was not until she was just over two years old, on March 1, 2015, that Pagano first used her hands to reach for something. In November 2016, at almost four years old, she took her first steps. And while she still needs a lot of help, Pagano is now able to get around school without the use of a wheelchair.
Today, Pagano is working hard and making good progress when it comes to feeding herself independently and although she does still have difficulty eating textured food, she is making improvements in that area as well. Recently, Pagano was even able to chew a cracker all by herself.
With the help of the David Blitz Memorial Golf Tournament Fund, Pagano and her family are looking to take her next steps forward.
The goal of the fund is to collect money so the family can purchase a service dog for Pagano as well as to help other families dealing with illness. The cost of a service animal is over $13,000, which is out of reach for her family.
A service dog would allow her to be more independent with everyday tasks, such as opening doors, picking things up, keeping her balance and getting up when she falls. It would also help her in stressful social settings like being in a large crowd of people.
Kids with disabilities are often isolated by their peers and dogs can serve as an icebreaker to help develop the child’s social skills.
The David Blitz Memorial Golf Tournament will be held on June 30, 2017 at Tunxis Country Club in Farmington. If you are interested in helping support Pagano by playing in the golf tournament, attending the dinner, being a sponsor, cash donation or donating raffle prizes please contact Carl Josephson at (203) 215-9553.