When I look back on the 21 ½ years with my son here on this Earth, I know I am blessed to have been his mother and continue to be his mother…forever.
Anthony truly was an angel and I say that because of the principles he lived by. He was an old soul from the time he was very young. He asked questions like, ‘Mom, why does the water in the Grand Canyon go down instead of up the hills?’ He made us laugh, but he also made us cry with gratefulness of his kind heart. For example, he befriended an older woman in our neighborhood because, ‘She’s older mom, and nobody visits her.’
After his tragic passing from esophageal cancer, we founded the Anthony V. Mannino Foundation, Inc. We ultimately wanted to help other young adults diagnosed with cancer and ensure that his legacy lived on.
Anthony endured many gaps in treatment for the 22 months he so fiercely battled cancer, and I know, without a doubt, he would want us to make another young adult’s journey easier. He fought for himself and his family, even with knowing that this type of cancer had a zero percent chance of survival.
Our son’s foundation financially assists young adults between the ages of 18-28 years while undergoing cancer treatment. We found that Anthony’s age group of 18+ years doesn’t always have the emotional or financial help that other age groups do. We are also aware of situations that young adults face including:
They must stay a full time student to be enrolled in their parent's health insurance. Chemotherapy and radiation makes it impossible to feel well enough to take the necessary courses needed to be a full time student.
Lack of psychological help and support. There wasn't a trained psychiatrist on staff to help Anthony deal with his prognosis. Depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and lack of sleep are just a few of the effects of being given such a terrible diagnosis/prognosis.
There are fertility issues. It is important that the patient knows they have the opportunity to have a family. The opportunity to have their sperm/eggs stored should be available to these young adults. Psychologically it gives the patient the hope they need to fight, knowing they may still have the opportunity to have children.
This age group should not have to be part of the general population in the hospital - it isn't good for them, psychologically, to be placed with an older generation, or end-of-life patients, while they are receiving their treatment.
They should have the right to as many medical opinions as needed, and they should have access to physicians who are qualified in the adolescent age group.
There should be support groups, specific to this age group.
There are tremendous costs associated with cancer and not every family or young adult has the means to afford these costs.
So far, the foundation has committed to supporting several young adults, and has been blessed to have rooms dedicated in Anthony's name. They include, "Anthony's Room" located at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, "The Anthony V. Mannino Comfort Room", located on the oncology floor at ECMC and "The Anthony V. Mannino Family Waiting Rooms" on the 3rd and 4th floors at Kenmore Mercy Hospital. All of these rooms are meant to keep Anthony's memory alive by providing respite for patients and their loved ones.
Loyalty was big to our son, as he would do anything for his family and friends, but also his community. It is our sincere honor to keep his memory alive, and keep his name strong.
We thank Cindy Mannino for writing into Hope Rises in memory of her precious fighter. We hope you choose to support this incredible foundation. You can do so by clicking here.