LIVINGSTON, NJ — HandCrafters of Livingston is calling for the community to rally for John Faro Vitale, a 6-year-old boy who was recently diagnosed with a rare blood disease, when the YMCA hosts a bone marrow drive alongside its Fourth Annual Bike Livingston on Saturday, June 4.

Sponsored by the YMCA, Saint Barnabas and Livingston Bagel, the bone marrow drive aims to locate a match for John Faro, whose disease requires a bone marrow transplant. However, John Faro’s bone marrow is extremely rare and his family, which includes West Essex YMCA Executive Director Helen Flores, has been unable to find a match.

HandCrafters owner Helaine Wallack said that when she read about John Faro’s story, her heart went out to the family and she immediately contacted Flores and Saint Barnabas to find out how she could contribute. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, HandCrafters, located at 45 E. Northfield Rd. directly next to Livingston Bagel, will donate 10 percent of all proceeds to the bone marrow drive.

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“I just think that the community needs to rally,” said Wallack. “I don’t know the child, but in a situation like this it’s so necessary that the community support them. A prick of the finger costs a fortune let alone what his real treatment is, so I simply want to help in any way I can.”

During the closing ceremonies of Bike Livingston (see story HERE), attendees will be invited to participate in the bone marrow drive for Be the Match organization, in conjunction with Saint Barnabas Medical Center. Last year, Bike Livingston attracted 271 people, which gives Flores hope for more potential matches for her grandson.

All it takes is a simple cheek swab to discover whether an individual’s bone marrow matches John Faro’s. The more people who participate, the more opportunities John Faro has to find the person who could save his life.

“I always say to my staff, ‘No matter what your problem is, the person on the other side of the counter could have one much worse,’” said Wallack. “And it’s so true. The person on the other side of the counter might be the one who has the son who has cancer or a financial problem that’s worse than what you’re dealing with.”

Read more about John Faro’s story HERE