JOHNSTOWN ¿ —Michael DelGrosso feels blessed by his 3-month-old daughter, Presley Victoria.
“She is doing better than expected,” he said. “We are blessed.”
Elvis Presley — was diagnosed with DiGeorge syndrome, a disorder caused by a defect in chromosome 22.
The doctors felt it was best for Vicky to have Presley at McGee Women’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, so she could then be quickly transferred to the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Presley was born on Feb. 29 — she is a Leap Year baby. A week later she had open heart surgery. A surgeon also repaired her tied tongue, which is also common in infants born with DiGeorge syndrome. Her parents were tested. It was discovered that Michael also has DiGeorge syndrome, which he said explains why he has a mild bipolar syndrome and a learning disability.
“Presley has to be tested for immune system problems, but we won’t know for some time if she has a learning disability,” Michael said. “She may or may not have problems. She looks normal.”
Presley was in Children’s Hospital for 58 days. Michael is employed as a janitor at the Johnstown Christian School, Hollsopple. Vicky is a certified nurse assistant at Arbutus Park Manor, Johnstown. She was at work when the interview was conducted.
Marsha Carr, a fourth-grade teacher at Johnstown Christian, said when the elementary faculty learned the baby was going to be born with a heart defect, they brainstormed ways they could help the DelGrossos. They decided that each class could have a bake sale each Wednesday until the baby was born. They named it “Pastries for Presley.” It was so successful that they expanded it to Wednesday and Thursday.
“Children, parents and even grandparents got in on the baking,” she said. “Parents also volunteered to help at the bake sale. They were quite dedicated to the cause.”
The elementary school alone raised $1,203.79. Since that school was so successful, the middle school sold “Pretzels for Presley” and “Popcorn for Presley.” The high school collected “Pennies for Presley.” Several churches took up special collections. The Christian radio station K-Love did a radio spot that brought in more donations. Donations may be mailed to the DelGrossos in care of Johnstown Christian School, 125 Christian School Road, Hollsopple, PA 15935.
“We have an Access card for Presley, but we had expenses to stay in Pittsburgh,” Michael said. “People have been a big help, our bosses and our coworkers. Two of our neighbors baby-sit so we can get out sometimes. They love Presley to death. We belong to Carpenter Park Mennonite Church (Davidsville) and we are on prayer chains at several churches. We are grateful for people’s prayers.”
Carr said that the Johnstown Christian School surrounded the DelGrosso family with love.
“I am blessed to have become an adopted grandmother,” she said. “This experience has not only taught us about God’s provisions, but how to love and serve others in Christian love. The students, faculty, staff and parents have not only blessed them financially, but spiritually and emotionally as well. In return, the students have learned so much by being a part of this family. They love Presley and look forward to times when they get to see her. She continues to be in our daily prayers as they praise God for all he has done in her life. We are privileged to have been a part of her life and this little miracle.”