For over four years, Joey Sciacca battled Neuroblastoma, the most common cancer affecting children and infants that strikes about 650 children each year.
Joey died on May 17, 2013 in hospice from complications of the disease. This March 27 would have been his seventh birthday. Those who loved him, his family, friends and supporters are rallying together to rebuild a playground in his honor.
To date they have raised $5,000 to rebuild the children's playground at Liberty Baptist Church where Joey's parent attend. The goal is raise the remainder by March 27.
"We desperately need donations to complete the project in time for his birthday," said his grandmother Letitia Adams in an appeal for help. "Donations can be made to Fundly Donations, an organization that helps raise money for worthy causes.
Donations can be made by going to fundly.com/m2/joey-playground-fund#_=_
Joey idolized the Hulk, Captain America and Iron Man. But those who knew him said he was a super hero in his own right. The young Clermont resident was diagnosed at two years old with the disease.
He spent over 50 months at children's hospitals in Orlando, Memphis and Philadelphia. Doctors tried blood transfusions, chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. And through it all, Joey never gave up. His spirits remained high according to his mother, Jessica.
"His attitude was, bring it on," she recalled. His father, Kenneth agreed. "He loved to laugh and smile," he added. "He always found a way to be happy. If you saw him smile, you smiled, too. You couldn't resist."
He family remembered that he seemed to identify with super heroes and loved wearing those costumes on Halloween. Just before he passed, Joey was able to leave St. Jude's hospital one last time to be with his family for a dinner and a chance to see the preview of Iron Man 3 with his brother Vinnie and sister Angie.
Supporters hope that this playground will provide joy to other young children while honoring the boy whose fighting attitude inspired so many others.