Giving Back

In Honor of Savannah: South Plainfield Resident Spreads ‘Hope’ in Late Daughter's Memory

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Thomas Galuppo and Julianne Wager with their daughter Savannah on her christening day.
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Savannah Galuppo
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Savannah Galoppo passed away just two weeks before her first birthday.
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Hold On, Pray Everyday offers 'hope' inspired shirts, hats and bracelets with proceeds each month benefiting Children's Specialized Hospital.
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Thomas Galuppo, founder of Hold On, Pray Everyday, outside PSE&G Children's Specialized Hospital.
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SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – After his 11-month old daughter Savannah passed away last July, South Plainfield resident Thomas Galuppo set out to do something to honor her memory.

Inspired by the love and prayer he and his fiancé Julianne Wager received from others during their daughter’s short life and illness, Galuppo launched Hold On, Pray Everyday (hope). The company sells hope-logoed clothing and accessories, including hats and bracelets, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting PSE&G Children’s Specialized Hospital.

 “I have a positive message of hope I’m trying to spread as wide and far as I possibly can. What better way to spread a message then to put it on a hat or shirt for people to spread themselves everywhere they wear it,” said Galuppo, who relocated to South Plainfield from Union last summer. “When people are buying our hats or shirts they aren’t just getting a piece of clothing, they are buying into our mission and joining our ‘hope’ family.

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Savannah Galuppo was born, unresponsive, on July 15, 2015. Doctors at St. Barnabas Medical Center diagnosed her with Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE), also known as intrapartum asphyxia, a brain injury caused by oxygen deprivation to the brain. Savannah spent the first three days of her life on a ventilator and, once taken off, was given an oxygen mask until she was able to breath on her own at a week old.

 According to Galuppo, the injury to Savannah’s brain affected many things, including her ability to swallow and, at just a few weeks old, a gastronomy tube was placed inside her to allow nutrition directly into her stomach. Due to the brain injury, Savannah was also unable to cry, had difficulty with range of motion in her limbs, and also suffered from seizures.

After a month stay in the NICU at St. Barnabas, Savannah was transferred to PSE&G Children’s Specialized Hospital in New Brunswick where she received physical, occupational, vision and speech therapy for two months. Savannah was finally able to go home shortly after turning three months old but treatments continued, with a team of doctors, therapists, and nurses visiting five days a week for the rest of her short life. 

 “On July 1, 2016 Savannah was granted her angel wings, when she passed away just two weeks shy of her first birthday from unexpected complications,” said Galuppo.

Wanting to do something in honor of his late daughter – and realizing that much of what Children’s Specialized Hospital provides is possible because of donations – Galuppo launched ‘hope.’ 

“From day one, Savannah battled everyday up until she passed away. She showed us the true meaning of strength and the power of hope and I couldn’t be more proud of the progress and accomplishments my little girl was able to make, surpassing many doctors’ expectations,” said Galuppo, adding, “During these 11 months, hope and prayer was all my family could rely on to get us through. After she passed, I knew I needed to do something in her honor so I started Hold On, Pray Everyday to encourage people, especially those going through difficult times, to have ‘hope.’”

Through an online store (www.holdonprayeveryday.com) as well as at street fairs and vendor events, Galuppo sells hats, clothing, and bracelets, which all incorporate the company’s­ logo – an anchor built around the word ‘hope. 

“The anchor is seen a symbol of hope for its ability to remain firm and hold strong even during the most stormy waters,” said Galuppo.

Each month, 10-percent of ‘hope’ revenue is donated to Children’s Specialized Hospital and used to help fund things like therapy equipment, diapers, toys, blankets, and even meals for parents. In December, a portion of the revenue raised was used to purchase gifts for every child hospitalized during the holidays.

 “We cannot thank Children’s Specialized Hospital enough for everything they did for Savannah from the day we got there all the way up until the day she passed. They worked with her everyday never giving up and never letting us lose hope,” said Galuppo. “Even through this very trying time they created such a loving nurturing atmosphere for not only our daughter but also for us the parents as well.”

Galuppo, a director at the Five Points YMCA, and Wager, a lead teller at Wells Fargo, are both from Union and, after having Savannah decided to move out of his parent’s basement and into a home on Woodland Avenue in South Plainfield.

 “We knew it was time to start looking to take the next step in our lives and find a town to build a home for our little family. We searched for about three months until we came across a house in South Plainfield that we absolutely loved,” Galuppo said, adding that prior, neither he nor Wager had ever been to the borough. 

“We ended up doing a little research and visited the area and just fell in love with everything about South Plainfield and knew it was the perfect place to raise our little girl,” he said.

 Through his merchandising company, Galuppo ‘hopes’ to spread a positive message to ‘those who need it most and for anyone who may be going through difficult times.’

“No matter what, Savannah always made mommy and daddy very proud, gave us a lot of hope, and she will always be our beautiful little angel,” Galuppo said. “In a world filled with so many cultures, beliefs, points of view, and opinions, hope for love, and hope for the best.”

For more information on Hold On, Pray Everyday or to make a purchase, visit www.holdonprayeveryday.com or email holdonprayeveryday@yahoo.com. You can also follow ‘hope’ on Instagram (@holdonprayeveryday) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/holdonprayeveryday).

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