Meet Diego

Diego is a typical 8 year old boy who loves Legos, batman, and playing with his friends. But unlike many other boys his age, he is excited to be in school every day, because last year he wasn’t able attend school at all because of he was being treated for acute lymphocytic leukemia, which was diagnosed in 2015. Diego endured a year of both inpatient and outpatient chemotherapy, and was often sad about his long, isolated stays at home and not being able to be the active boy he was before he got sick.

When ECF caseworker Caitlin first started visiting the family, Diego was pale and had lost his hair. He barely looked at Caitlin, who provided emotional support to Diego’s frightened parents and helped them understand their son’s own emotional ups and downs. Every time Caitlin visited the family she would bring Diego a toy—mostly Legos of course—and over time he warmed up to her, giving her a shy smile whenever she came through the door. ECF also helped the family financially with monthly grocery deliveries and gift cards. Diego’s mom had to stop working after her son’s diagnosis, and his dad’s construction work slowed during the winter months when Diego first started his treatment, causing medical and other bills to pile up.

Fortunately, Diego is now down to only monthly maintenance chemo and spinal taps. Though he doesn’t feel well for a few days after these appointments, his overall renewed energy has allowed him to return to school full time, start taking guitar lessons, and play with his many friends as often as possible. In January, Diego was finally able to have the kind of active birthday party he wanted last year but was too weak to have—jumping up and down in bouncy houses! Caitlin still visits the family every month and still brings Diego a Lego each time!

Diego is also making his first communion in May at Mt. Carmel Church in Ridgewood. The church is a generous donor to ECF and recently ran a fundraiser for Diego and several other ECF families. Mt. Carmel happily stepped in to help Diego when his local church’s communion preparation class could not accommodate Diego’s treatment schedule; sometimes he doesn’t feel well enough to attend class every week but attends as often as he can and is getting well prepared for his special day.

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Where to Find Us

Headquarters

67 Walnut Ave
Suite 107
Clark, NJ 07066
(908) 322-4323

Joann Passantino
Executive Director

Central Regional Center

67 Walnut Ave
Suite 107
Clark, NJ 07066
(908) 322-4323 x17

Barbara Kobel
Sr. Central Regional Director

Southern Regional Center

451 Beech Avenue
Woodbury Heights, NJ 08097
(856) 853-4803

Mary Ann Sullivan 
Southern Regional Director

Eastern Regional Center

10 Highway 71
Suite 2
Wall, NJ 07719
(732) 282-2324

Rosemarie Contreras
Eastern Regional Director

Northern Regional Center

174 Paterson Avenue
PO Box 212
Midland Park, NJ 07432
(201) 612-8118

Patricia Brussel
Northern Regional Director

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