PISCATAWAY, NJ — Although a genetic disorder prevents 16-year-old Danny Roman from speaking, the smile on his face was enough to show his excitement for the dozens of honking cars and fire trucks that drove by his Piscataway home on Sunday to wish him a ‘Happy Birthday”.
“He’s loving it, the show of love. He’s super happy right now,” said Danny’s father, German Roman.
Firefighters from the Holmes Marshall Fire Company where the parade began led the procession with sirens and air horns blaring, while well-wishers shouted birthday greetings and waved posters with Danny’s name on them. Some left gifts and balloons at a table in front of where he was positioned in his front yard.
“He doesn’t speak, but he’s very smart,” said Roman explaining how his son, who was born with the genetic disorder, Gluteric Acidemia uses a special device in order to communicate and is confined to a wheelchair.
“He’s very happy. I didn’t expect anything like this,” he said. “I thank everyone for coming and for the special things they did today.”
“The township of Piscataway has been amazing,” said Krystal Morales Colon, Danny’s cousin who organized the drive-by birthday celebration along with other family members.
Colon said she reached out to the Holmes Marshall Fire Company for help in organizing the drive-by to surprise Danny whose official birthday is on Monday. “I just made some phone calls, and they helped me out, reaching out to other people.”
This included calls to the River Road and New Market Fire Companies who also sent trucks to join the parade.
“We coordinated the event to raise awareness for Danny and his family,” said Colon. “Danny is 16-years-old now and the family is really in need of a wheelchair accessible van.”
“He’s pretty heavy at this point and his mom is pregnant which we’re super happy about,” she continued, explaining how difficult it has become to lift him in and out of their car. “Raising funds through his GoFundMe page will make a huge difference for the family. It will be a lot more comfortable taking him to doctor’s appointments, food shopping, anything.”
So far, donors have contributed over $4,500 to the ‘Getting Danny a Ride’ GoFundMe fundraiser. The family hopes to raise $25,000 towards the cost of the van.
“When he was diagnosed with Gluteric Acidemia we had no idea how long he would live so seeing him turn 16 has been really emotional,” said Danny’s Aunt Delmalis. “He really needs a van where he can just wheel in, but they can get pricey because you also have to pay to convert it.”
“His wheelchairs are made specifically for him and are extra heavy,” said Colon. “He just recently got another one custom-made that glows in the dark.”
“I’m still in shock. I was trying to take a video but was shaking the whole time,” said Danny’s mother, Jenny about the parade. “I can’t thank everyone enough. I really appreciate them for being so special to my son. Thank you so much.”
To contribute to the ‘Getting Danny a Ride’ GoFundMe fundraiser, click here.
TAPintoPiscataway.net is an online newspaper serving the Township of Piscataway.