Catholic High School Student Turns Quarantine Cooking Hobby Into Fundraiser for Rare Diseases

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, catholic student, Crux, Faith, Gabby DiSalvo, Myofibrillar Myopathy, Queens, NY, Xaverian High School

By Emily Drooby

Gabby DiSalvo calls her Instagram page “@cooking.on.wheels.

Like many, the Xaverian High School student picked up cooking as a new hobby during quarantine.

Now, she’s stirring up success and adding a hefty dash of donations.

Gabby was diagnosed with myofibrillar myopathy, an incredibly rare disease in children. Doctors told her at the time she was born, she was just one of three kids with it.

“The muscles in my entire body, so every single muscle, my hands, my arms, it’s extremely weak,” she told Currents News.

At birth she was told she would never walk, but she found a way.

“Because my muscles are so weak, I would take a step and shift my weight like that, about sixteen times more drastically, so it caused almost like a swaying motion,” she explained while demonstrating.

However, the sway movement caused scoliosis, which led to surgery and made her wheelchair bound.

The muscle weakening that comes with her condition makes it hard to cook. But like with all her other challenges, Gabby found a way. She created adaptations and utilized kitchen tools.

“When I’m cooking, I feel free, I feel so happy,” she said. “I have learned how to basically turn it into something I can do completely on my own, or almost completely on my own. It might not be what you see on TV of the professionals, but I have turned it into what I am capable of doing.”

The Instagram account has taken off. She’s teaching virtual cooking classes, and was even featured on the Rachael Ray Show.

For the past four years, Gabby has raised $25,000 for Global Genes, a non-profit for the over 400 million people affected by rare diseases.

Because of the pandemic, the bake sale and ribbon sale fundraisers she normally has are impossible this year.

Instead, she’s holding a virtual bake-along on Feb. 27, and a cook-along in partnership with her school’s key club on Feb. 28. She already has a $10,000 donation from Rachael Ray.

The link for both of Gabby’s events can be found here: