Health & Wellness

The Farina Family of Madison Turns Personal Tragedy into Magical Opportunity for Others

ff50c241839d4d701b15_IMG_1251.jpg
b94d6a8f59911792501b_95ec0b46b77cde9c0b64_IMG_4270.JPEG
3979aedbcdfcdceeb5e1_IMG_1242.jpg
15e986371573bb54ca30_IMG_1238.jpg
262037fba506946ec653_IMG_1247.jpg
4c8083f387516c3f2575_IMG_1240.jpg
d82426a5aca0d44746c1_IMG_1244.JPG
c488ecc93774e2048ba5_IMG_1252.jpg
a3fcfc70a16203aa8493_IMG_1239.jpg
ff50c241839d4d701b15_IMG_1251.jpg

MADISON, NJ - It is every parent’s worst fear.  Your six year old child feels ill and wakes up with a mild fever one day and within a week begins the fight of their life battling cancer.

Last December Nick and Andrea Farina of Madison did what most would do when their only son Jack woke up with a mild fever and hives- called the pediatrician, scheduled a visit and went home with instructions on how to manage what was "probably a virus."  Little did they know that a week later after a rash type break-out, which Farina's dad quickly identified over the internet as petechiae, and subsequently requesting a full CBC blood work-up the next day, Jack would be diagnosed with Leukemia.

"Like the majority of people, I really had no idea what Leukemia is, aside from seeing the sad St. Jude commercials on TV. I never knew a child in my social circles who had Leukemia. I did not know what Jack’s prognosis could be, the treatment, etc. It was all incredibly shocking and overwhelmingly frightening" said Nick Farina.

Sign Up for E-News

"The traumatic experience of absorbing that your child has cancer is enough in itself. Then you learn that there needs to be tests done of his bone marrow and cerebral spinal fluid to determine exactly what type of Leukemia it is and how far its spread” added Farina

That day, December 13, 2017, would change the lives of the Farina family forever. They also learned that same day that Jack would miss the rest of this school year, lose all of his hair, and would need to endure over three years of harsh chemo treatments.

"As the oncologist sat with us to calmly explain all of this, I just cried" shared Farina.  "At one point she put her hand over mine and asked me to articulate exactly what was so overwhelming to me. I told her the fear of my son dying. She then said that he will live a long life, looked me in the eye and told me with tears streaming down her face, that she would treat him as if he were her own. Those words in that moment were significant. I believed her."

Jack then had a bone marrow aspiration to determine exactly what type of leukemia he had. There are different types of leukemia, with varying survival rates ranging from 50% or less to over 90%.  The results came back that Jack had B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia otherwise known as "ALL".

"If Jack were to have leukemia, then this is the preferred choice. ALL is the most common form of childhood cancer," said Farina. "We also learned that thankfully, the leukemia did not spread to Jack's central nervous system."

Pediatric ALL treatment is one of the greatest success stories of modern medicine. 50 years ago, this was a grim diagnosis with a very low survival rate. Today, the average survival rate is nearing 90% with subsets as high as over 95%. While ALL is highly treatable, it is the leading cause of cancer-related death among children in the United States.

Jack would go on to have six phases of treatment at The Valerie Center, part of The Goryeb Children's Hospital located in Morristown, NJ.  He is currently in phase five and despite the toxic regimen of chemotherapy, he is doing well. His Leukemia is in remission but if treatment were to be stopped today, it would return quickly, hence the reason why his  projected end of treatment date is March, 2021.

The expectation is that Jack will be able to return to Torey J school in September. The family goal is for Jack to be able to attend school for 50% of the school year.

MADISON AND THE VALERIE CENTER RALLY FOR JACK

This past year, the Valerie Center donated a robot for Jack's classroom, which Jack operates via an ipad ad (Also donated by the Valerie Center). So while Jack was out of school from December on, he was still able to participate when he felt up to it.

Torey J also facilitated a 504  plan so that Jack could receive home instruction which he received for approx six hours per week since January.

"As a result, of these joint efforts Jack managed to receive an excellent, advanced education despite the fact that he missed more than half of the school year," said Farina. "The principal and staff at Torey J have been a godsend. They couldn't be more loving and supportive. We are very blessed to have them in our life."

"The entire community of Madison has rallied around us. Our neighbors and friends immediately set up a Meal Train to supply lunches and dinners for us while we were in the hospital during our first month of Jack’s treatment - our friends here locally are wonderful and can't do enough for us," added Farina. As well, our parish, St Vincent Martyr, has been an incredible source of support.

A CaringBridge website was also setup to provide friends and family with updates about Jack.

FARINA FAMILY AND FRIENDS GIVING BACK

Jack Farina loves Madison baseball.

"From the early days of his diagnosis we were committed to finding a way to get him to participate in this past little league baseball season. Jack was placed on a team with lots of his good friends, and I signed up to serve as an assistant coach," said Farina. "Unfortunately the baseball season coincided with Jack starting the most intense part of his treatment in April but amazingly we were able to get Jack to participate in a few games.

During the baseball season, the Farina Family and fellow coaches Dave Smith and Matt Gallo came together to discuss what they could do as a team to show support for pediatric cancer.

"Andrea and I asked the Valerie Center what we could do to tangibly and directly benefit them. They conveyed to us that they were running low on gift cards which they award to kids when they complete a chemo treatment. Also gift cards are used to help financially strapped parents of their patients with groceries, gas, etc." said Farina.

The Madison Little League team took this information and decided to do a gift card fundraiser.  A YouCaring website was started to collect donations and the team went out to get the word out.

The Farina's also personally committed to match the first $1,000 raised.

After six weeks, the team managed to raise a total of $6,160, which was then converted to smaller denomination gift cards.

One of the team moms designed "Leukemia Awareness t-shirts' which all of the kids wore when they joined Jack and the coaches/parents this past Thursday June 14 to formally present the gift cards to The Valerie Center

A FAMILY CALLS LOCAL COMMUNITY TO ACTION

The Farina family consider themselves very lucky that there is a specialized pediatric oncology clinic just a short 10 minute drive from their front door.

As well, not everyone is fortunate enough to have a facility like The Valerie Center closeby. Many families need to commute hours to the closest center, and others must even relocate in order to be closer to where their child could receive adequate treatment.

"While there are many, vitally important hot button topics impacting our community,, I can see no more important cause than to support kids suffering from cancer right here in our backyard. said Farina. "For many, it’s the out of sight / out of mind conundrum, hence the reason why awareness is of paramount importance. There is no difference between my family and anyone else in this town - we just happened to draw the backwards lottery ticket. It could happen to anyone. But since it happened to us, I can't meekly sit to the side while other, more politically convenient topics are being promoted.  There are kids in this very community and Morris County in general who either presently have cancer like Jack or are recent survivors of cancer, thanks in large part to the work of the Valerie Center here locally," added Farina. “We as a relatively affluent community could be doing more to support this critically important place. They are saving our son’s life”


Contact Ann Stocknoff at the Valerie Center to make a donation in honor of Jack Farina: ann.stocknoff@atlantichealth.org or 973-971-6720

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Bloomfield

Bloomfield Blood Drive Scheduled for 07/19

July 19, 2018

BLOOMFIELD, NJ-- A Community Blood Drive sponsored by the Bloomfield Health Department and Bloomfield Fire Department will be held on Thursday, July 19th from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m..  The Bloodmobile will be parked in front of The Bloomfield Health Department Building located at 1 Municipal Plaza.  

Anyone interested in donating is urged to set up an appointment by clicking ...

Bloomfield Photo Contest will Showcase Talented Photographers’ Works on Township Website, Upcoming Mobile App

BLOOMFIELD, NJ - Residents are invited to enter a photography contest, with the winning photographs being displayed on the Bloomfield Township website and upcoming mobile app. The subject of these photos can be any iconic Bloomfield Township buildings, landscapes, or landmarks.

As part of the township’s efforts to improve communications with residents and make public information more ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_943dfb010370a52cb955_mini_magick20180710-114167-j5hk5r

Sat, July 21, 3:00 PM

Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center, Little Falls

Sports, Medicine, and the Opioid Crisis

Education Health & Wellness Sports

Carousel_image_e8caf8f288f950009ca3_library_montclair_ants_in_pants

Mon, July 23, 4:00 PM

Bellevue Avenue Branch, Upper Montclair

Ants in the Pants: Children’s Author Jolie Della ...

Education

Carousel_image_b3cfb9d1c9647a4f98fa_mountainside_logo_meridian

Mon, July 23, 7:00 PM

Hospital Auditorium, Glen Ridge

Tour of the Birthing Center

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_894baa8375cb9dd2f0cb_mini_magick20180718-26014-1b0psr8

Tue, July 24, 2:00 PM

Montclair Public Library, Auditorium, Montclair

What’s All That Jazz About? with Shenole Latimer

Arts & Entertainment Education

Carousel_image_71f510c1d4958086ac22_z_verona_summer_concerts_2018

Wed, July 25, 7:00 PM

Verona Civic Center Square, Verona

Verona Summer Concert Series!

Arts & Entertainment Business & Finance Food & Drink Government

Carousel_image_839567c057b5b1db93e9_bill-boat_504x353_web

Thu, July 26, 6:00 PM

River Barge Park & Marina, Carlstadt

Meadowlands Discovery Sunset Eco-Cruise

Education Green Travel

Bloomfield Police Department Blotter June 25 to July 1, 2018

July 6, 2018

BLOOMFIELD, NJ - The following police blotter has been issued by Lt. Anthony Sisco of the Bloomfield Police Department.

Shoplifting:

6/26/18- Robert Jimenez Age 37 of Paulsboro, NJ-Officers were dispatched to 60 Orange Street (Home Depot) on report of a shoplifter in custody. Mr. Jiminez was observed attempting to leave the store with unpaid merchandise valued at $417.00. He was ...

HMH Mountainside Medical Center Breaks Ground on Medical Office Building

July 18, 2018

MONTCLAIR/GLEN RIDGE, NJ - Construction is underway at the site of the new Mountainside Medical Center Office Building located at Hackensack Meridian Health Mountainside Medical Center.

Starting with a groundbreaking ceremony on July 10, township officials from Montclair and Glen Ridge, joined Mountainside leaders on the grounds of the former School of Nursing location at 1 Bay ...

Newark May Get a Boost From Investors with New Federal Program

NEWARK, NJ - Newark could soon see a boost in long-term investments due to federal legislation that created certain tax exemptions for private investors.

In April, the federal treasury department approved low-income Opportunity Zones in 75 municipalities throughout New Jersey that were nominated by Gov. Phil Murphy. Thirteen of those zones are designated in Newark.

MORE: View a ...

CAIR-NJ Condemns Fliers Posted in Bridgewater, Surrounding Area by White Supremacist Group Identity Evropa

July 19, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - The New Jersey Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) has condemned the distribution of fliers promoting Identity Evropa, a white supremacist group, in Bridgewater, Somerville, Morristown and other areas, according to a release Wednesday.

"The promotion of a racist and white supremacist group should not be tolerated in our ...

Residents Taking Action Against White Supremacist Fliers Found Around Bridgewater, Bedminster, Other Local Areas

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Residents of Bridgewater, Somerville, Morristown and surrounding communities are mobilizing for action after they found posters around town promoting Identity Evropa, which the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has labeled a white supremacist group.

According to Bridgewater resident Stacey Friedlander, a member of the “Not In Our Town – Bridgewater/Raritan” ...

'Diggin' It' at Belmar's Annual Sandcastle Contest

July 19, 2018

BELMAR, NJ — Belmar’s 18th Avenue beach turned into a giant sandbox for the hundreds of participants in Wednesday's 32nd Annual Sandcastle Contest.

As thousands of spectators crowded around to watch the building process unfold on July 18, sand sculptors of all ages took their pails, shovels, spray bottles and other tools — and tricks —  of the trade to create a ...

Belmar: Hub of Fun from Dawn to Dusk on July 18

BELMAR, NJ — From sandcastles to classic cars, Belmar will be hosting two marquee events on Wednesday, July 18.

While the 32nd Annual New Jersey Sandcastle Contest will converge upon the beachfront during the day, Belmar Cruise Night will move onto Main Street in the evening. Here’s a look at each destination event.

Sandcastle Contest: Begins at 8 a.m. at 18th Avenue ...

To Our Current and Future Representatives

July 18, 2018

To Our Current and Future Representatives - Wherever They May Be:

We can never forget we are a nation of immigrants. 

We cannot fall prey to fear, ignorance and anger when we  have been historically driven by freedom and justice. 

We must have the courage and will to fight hate, bigotry and prejudice. 

We must not wake up to what we hoped was a bad dream and ...

Entrepreneurs Continue Bloomfield's Centuries' Old Pioneering Tradition

To the Editor:

The initial patent for the land that would become Bloomfield Township was granted to the English Puritan colonists of Newark, and the area assigned to Essex County in 1675, and Newark Township in 1693. From the 1690s to about the 1720s, much of the northern and eastern land was sold to descendants of New Netherland colonists who had settled Acquackanonk, and the remainder mostly ...

Thursday Movies Continue to the end of July at the Bloomfield Public Library

July 19, 2018 - BLACK PANTHER This American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name is a financial and critical blockbuster! After the death of his father, T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) returns home to the African nation of Wakanda to take his rightful place as king. When a powerful enemy suddenly reappears, T'Challa's resilience as king - and as ...

Monday Movies Continue Through The End of July

July 16, 2018 - SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AS ME

Successful businessman Ron Hall (Greg Kinnear) and his wife, Deborah (Renee Zellweger), discover a renewed sense of purpose when they begin to volunteer at a local mission in Fort Worth, Texas. Their lives change forever when they develop an unlikely friendship with Denver Moore (Djimon Hounson), a homeless man who inspires them to save their ...

The Jaffe Briefing - July 18, 2018

STATEWIDE - One business in Pleasantville has flooded 32 different times since the early 1990s, and rebuilt each time with taxpayer money. A single-family home in North Wildwood has been flooded and rebuilt 23 times, again, on your dime. NJ.com reports that New Jersey is filled with 3,330 properties that have routinely flooded since the 1970s, some as many as 20 or more times, yet ...

5 Simple Ways to Save Water this Summer

July 16, 2018

According to the L.A. Times, the average American uses an estimated 98 gallons of water EACH day.  

Here are five simple ways you can save water, to help you conserve water this summer and take some pressure off of your drains.

1. Unless you are using it, turn the faucet off. How many of us still leave the water running while we shave or brush our teeth?According to ...

Lucia, Lucia by Adriani Trigiani

Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani (Ballentine Books, 2003)

 

If a summer romance novel is what you are craving to read as you sit by the pool or beach, Adriana Trigiani's Lucia, Lucia is a perfect choice. Set in 1950 New York City, the novel is about a young woman, Lucia Sartori, who is determined to have a career and be able to support herself, an unusual choice for a girl who was ...

The Anatomy of Escape by Mike Blue

The Anatomy of Escape: An Unconventional Adventure by Mike Blue (Available on Amazon)

 

Imagine that you could just say, “Chuck it,” and walk away from the bonds that keep you tied to what Mike Blue, author of The Anatomy of Escape: An Unconventional Adventure, defines as the restrictive Work-Consume-Die cycle. To most of us, becoming what Blue terms “a ...

The Death of Koko the Gorilla

Koko's Kitten, Koko's Story, The Eduction of Koko all by Dr. Francine Patterson

 

Last night when I heard about the death of Koko, the lowland gorilla who was educated to communicate through American Sign Language by Dr. Francine Patterson, I went numb with grief. I have followed the life of Koko, her two gorilla companions, Michael and Ndume, as well as Dr. Patterson for forty ...

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (William Morrow, 2018)

 

A friend, whose opinion on literature I respect greatly, reported to me recently that she had just finished reading A.J. Finn's debut novel, The Woman in the Window. Of it she said, “I wish I hadn't finished it,” which I interpreted to mean, “It was so good I'm sorry that I finished it.” ...

Murphy Administration Takes Action to Help Smokers Quit

July 16, 2018

Eliminates Prior Approval for Medicaid Tobacco Cessation Medications; Counseling Options to be Expanded

July 16, 2018

(TRENTON) – The Murphy administration on Monday announced new steps to help New Jersey Medicaid recipients quit using tobacco by making it easier to receive tobacco cessation medications and counseling.

“Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death ...

Take the 2018 TAPinto Reader Survey

How often do you read TAPinto?  Have you downloaded the TAPinto APP?  These are a few of the questions for readers in our 2018 TAPinto Reader Survey.

We want to hear from you!

The survey will take less than five minutes to complete and will help TAPinto better serve you. 

Take the 2018 TAPinto Reader Survey.

Thank you.  We appreciate your support and ...

Starting and Managing Your own Small Business in New Jersey

UNION, NJ - Learn about what it takes to start a business in New Jersey - and what it takes to succeed at SCORE's seminar on July 19.  

The seminar takes place Thursday July 19 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Unity Bank 952 Stuyvesant Ave Union NJ 07083 

Space is limited, attendees are asked to register by July 16. 

This seminar is $35, which includes a copy of our ...

Obituaries

Mar 9, 1978 - Jul 13, 2018
Christopher J. Barra, Sr., lifelong resident of Bloomfield, passed away on July 13, 2018 at the age ...
Read more
Jun 10, 1983 - Jun 17, 2018
Ryan M. Lucas, 35 Proud Marine Veteran and Nutley Firefighter Ryan M. Lucas, a lifelong ...
Read more