Testimonials

When we started Maria’s Love Foundation in April of 2014, our main goal was to simply help people. We did not know exactly how we could help or even who at that moment, but just knowing that there are so many people out there who need support from others, gave us a reason to reach out to the community. Those feelings gave us the strength to lead us on the right path. Very soon after, we heard of an unfortunate accident. A young man, from our Greek community named Anthony Michaelides, had been in a terrible motorcycle accident. Without hesitation, we knew we wanted to help. At the time of the accident, Anthony Michaelides had been living in Los Angeles, California, where he became a big part of the community. Anthony had a dream to help people pursue their own dreams. He founded an organization called “The Dream Tree”, which took place in a park in downtown LA. The purpose of this organization was to help young adults realize what their dreams were and to lead them on the right path to help make their own dreams come true. He received a grant to complete The Dream Tree and ended up helping over 200 adolescents, who had all written and hung their dreams on the tree. Soon after Anthony’s accomplishment, on Father’s Day 2014, he got into a terrible accident. He was driving his motorcycle and unexpectedly slipped on gravel. He found himself holding onto a guardrail but could not hold on for long and fell 100 feet to the ground below. He sustained multiple severe injuries, after which the doctors only gave him a 5% chance of survival and expected him to remain in a coma for 1-1.5 years. With Anthony’s amazing strength and the amount of prayers and love he was receiving from everyone around, especially his family and friends back home in Queens, NY, Anthony was discharged from the hospital in California only TWO months after his accident. Anthony has beaten all odds and is currently back home in NY continuing his rehabilitation to get him back where he needs to be. This is a story of how HOPE, STRENGTH and LOVE can achieve miracles. We were so proud and happy that we were able to help Anthony with some of his medical bills for the numerous surgeries he had to undergo. 

Anthony Michaelides

Jake Vassallo is a sweet little boy who at 2 years old was diagnosed with moderate to severe autism. Jake’s parents, Chris and Claudia, reached out to us due to the limited assistance they receive for all of the services Jake needs. They constantly battle to keep his much needed services, such as speech therapy and occupational therapy. Therapies and treatments cost $40,000 to $60,000 per year and Chris and Claudia often pay out of pocket for these necessary services. Surprisingly, the many therapies that children with autism require are not covered by health insurance. Chris and Claudia even had to get up and relocate to a different neighborhood on Long Island that offers the services Jake needs in that school district. The grant we offered to the Vassallo family was able to help Jake receive speech therapy because he is non-verbal, ABA therapy to teach him basic life skills, feeding therapy because Jake has a limited diet due to sensory issues, and sensory gym sessions to assist with his hypersensitivities to various textures and movement. We were so excited to be able to help this wonderful family and since we met the Vassallo family, Jake has said the word “mom” for the first time. How amazing! We wish you all the best!

Jake Vassallo

Carol is a mother of two who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2007. She lived a normal life for years with few symptoms of the disease. Carol decided to go on a new medication, which only had a 1% risk of possible brain infection. Tragically, she became 1 in 50 people in the United States to develop complications from this medication. Carol developed a brain infection, progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML).  She spent six months in a coma-like state and is now fully paralyzed and bound to a wheel chair as a result of the medication. Currently, Carol’s daughters are trying hard to keep their mom living at home and avoiding having to put her into an assisted living facility. The cost of 24-hour home care and all of the medical expenses are tremendous and is making it a struggle for the family to keep up.

Carol Watson

Finn Rocket Mirasol is an 8 year old boy who unfortunately suffered a grand mal seizure at three months old and continues to have seizures about twice a week. Finn was diagnosed with agenesis of the corpus callosum, cleft on the right hemisphere of the brain and cortical dysplasia. He is fed through a gastrostomy tube and has severe developmental delays. Finn attends school with a nurse because of his frequent seizures. Finn was growing out of his current stander and insurance was covering less and less for his new equipment. The stander is important for physical development and Maria’s Love Foundation was very happy to have been able to sponsor the purchase of a new stander. We wish Finn all the best in his future!

Finn Rockett Mirasol

Hannah Taylor is a strong, young woman who had to overcome osteosarcoma (bone cancer) as a child. For her treatment, the tumor in her femur had to be resected. Therefore, part of her femur had to be replaced with a prosthesis when the tumor was surgically removed.  For almost ten years, Hannah was able to walk without any problems. About five months before we met Hannah in September 2015, she began having excruciating pain in her leg and was having a hard time walking. She started to require crutches to walk. After getting misdiagnosed multiple times, Hannah finally found out that her prosthesis had broken inside of her leg. She required surgery immediately but didn't have the funds to pay for this surgery. We were so happy that we were able to help Hannah through this hard time. We recently heard from Hannah in December and we are happy to say that she is recovering well! She still has some more progress to make but she is very happy with the outcome of her surgery.

Hannah Taylor

Attila was diagnosed with Progressive Multiple Sclerosis in December of 2004, at the age of 30. He has tried many treatments, but none have helped him go into remission. His MS is continuing to progress, causing him to have difficulty walking and even affecting his ability to withstand high temperatures. Attila’s doctors advised him and his wife that his only hope of putting the disease in remission is to admit into a stem cell study in Chicago, however the costs for the treatment, of course, are very high. We were able to offer a grant to Attila to help him enter this study that has a very high success rate. We wish Attila all the best in his treatment!

Attila Vari

“I can’t say enough good things about this foundation. Great folks reaching out into the world with care, making a positive impact on people’s lives, like mine. We needed help and they were there to help when no one else was. Awesome place, awesome people. I am forever in your debt. Thank you Antri and team.” Those are a few kind words from Eric Hardin. Him and his family were going through a difficult time when he became ill and could no longer work while his wife was pregnant. We hope that the grant we offered you helped relieve some of the burden of those medical bills!

Eric Hardin

Penelope is 5 year old girl who was born with Aicardi Syndrome, a neurological disorder that has left her without the ability to move much voluntarily. She is dependent on others for all of her activities of daily living, and this includes taking her out of bed and putting her in her chair. Since September 2014, Penelope has been living at St. Mary’s Hospital for Children. Penelope is growing, and her chair was becoming unsuitable for her. Beyond that, the chair was falling apart, with many of its features not working, such as the recliner, head rest and the hand brakes. We were happy to be able to assist the family in purchasing a new wheelchair for Penelope. We can’t wait to see her in the new chair!

Penelope F

Logan was born premature at 29 weeks, healthy and strong. Unfortunately, at ten days old, Logan needed increased respiratory support and became lethargic. The hospital had suggested a lumbar puncture to rule out meningitis. The next day Logan had stopped moving completely from the neck down. Over the next few days, Logan had received a total of five lumbar punctures and doctors continued to treat him for meningitis. After receiving an MRI, they saw that there was a spinal abscess that was compressing his spinal cord from his cervical spine down to his sacrum, leaving him quadriplegic. He received emergency spinal surgery (spinal decompression laminectomy) at 17 days old. After four months in the NICU and four months in St. Mary’s children’s hospital, Logan finally went home. After extensive research, Logan’s parents found a medical procedure that showed good outcomes for restoring muscle function. Of course, the procedure is expensive. We were happy to help Logan’s family with their enormous medical bills to help Logan receive this procedure. As of two months ago, Logan is beginning to show some resistance in his arms! We wish him all the luck!!

Logan Pichardo
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