Parents approached the club about financial support for their child's specialized therapy.

Jamie and Jennifer Salerno, parents of a beautiful five-year old named Ariana, were surprised to learn early on that one of their twin children has Cerebral Palsy.  According to her mother, Ari is unable to talk, and has difficulty understanding, walking, climbing and keeping up with her classmates, although her twin brother is very supportive of her.  Addressing the North Haven Rotary Club recently, Mrs. Salerno said that it is extremely difficult for her daughter to complete daily activities that are most often taken for granted by others. She explained that while there is no magic cure for Cerebral Palsy and, in her case no known cause for it, her child has an opportunity to travel to Largo, Florida to receive state-of-the-art therapy this summer.  This will involve “five weeks of intense, daily, life-altering therapy”. 

The very expensive therapy itself runs at least $10,000, and then there are the expenses for travel, meals, and lodging.  To help off-set some of the cost, there is a fundraiser for “Ari’s Entourage” planned for Saturday, April 27 from 5:30 to 6:30pm in the form of a children’s concert to be held at the Sheehan High School Auditorium, 142 Hope Hill Road, Wallingford, CT.  The high-energy concert will include a range from classic to original songs and “will have you and your children dancing in the aisles”, according to the flyer.  It adds that “kids get to try out instruments throughout the show”.

Tickets are available at Mr. D’s located at 50 North Main Street in Wallingford for a donation of $5 per ticket, although additional donations would be “greatly appreciated”.  As an additional incentive, for each ticket purchased at Mr. D’s, participants will receive a coupon for a “free kiddie ice cream cone”.  For more information, please visit www.gofundme.com/arisentourage.

Following the visit from the Salernos, it was determined at the next Rotary board meeting to seek funds through the upcoming Kids for Kids/Dancing for Life fundraiser whose mission statement reads “to help sick, hungry, and/or homeless children by offering funds for medical attention, shelter, and food." The Rotary club runs the concession stand at the competition each year in order to raise funds for children’s charities. Michael Hallahan, Rotary President, has announced that “Kids for Kids, Inc. President Richard Brannigan stated that his organization is already set to give meaningful funding to Ari's Entourage".