MP fundraiser gives ailing youngster hope

Tony Signorile presents Jennifer Cutignola, mother of Nadia Uddien, with a check for $500 for the Nadia Foundation Fund, as fellow Morris Park Community Association members (l-r) Gloria Finelli, Frank Agovino, Annamaria D’Onofrio, Al D’Angelo, and Gabrielle Pacino look on.

Just a few months ago, a Morris Park mother deeply feared for her daughter’s life. Now, with the recent conclusion of a Morris Park fundraiser, hope is on the horizon.

Though they weren’t able to secure a kidney donor for 10-year-old Nadia Uddin, who suffers from End Stage Renal Disease, donations from 72 local merchants are making her medical journey much more bearable.

“I didn’t realize how many people in this community would come together where there was a problem,” fundraiser organizer Mark Anthony Mellone said.

Thanks to contributions from the Morris Park Community Association as well as local residents, soon Uddin and her mom, Jennifer Cutignola, will make a short move from their cramped Morris Park studio apartment up the block to a larger space.

The new location will allow the youngster to receive dialysis in the comfort of her own home instead of making tri-weekly visits to Montefiore Medical Center for treatment.

“So that’s a big relief and a big help,” family friend Annamaria D’Onofrio, who helped spearhead the fundraiser, said.

The monies also helped Cutignola purchase a new bedroom set for her daughter, something she’s never had.

“She was just so overjoyed,” D’Onofrio said about Cutignola’s response to the overwhelming community support. “She didn’t have to worry about anything financially,” she added. “It’s a blessing.”

On May 31, D’Onofrio and Cutignola collected the remaining donation buckets from local merchants, thanking each one for their selfless generosity.

Uddin, too, was shocked by the neighborhood’s response to her cause.

“She is truly grateful and she can’t believe all these people did something like this for her,” D’Onofrio said.

She added that the little girl often accompanied her to the bank and thoroughly enjoyed emptying the buckets into the change machine.

For Uddin, each coin was a token of hope that one day, she’d again be a healthy little girl.

Cutignola said her daughter’s sickness came abruptly in early March when she began experiencing flu-like symptoms. A biopsy later revealed Uddin was experiencing the final stages of kidney failure.

“I just hope, and we’re all praying she does get a donor,” Mellone said. “I do wish them all the luck in the world.”

On behalf of Uddin’s family and those who supported her over the last several months, D’Onofrio said, “We appreciate very much each individual who contributed toward this fundraiser for Nadia. We will keep you in our thoughts.”

The Uddin family is still holding out hope for a kidney donor.  Anyone who feels they may be able to help with the cause, can call (646) 919-6212.

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