Anthony Filipazzo’s words have power – they represent hope for a community of people.
Anthony,11, has Williams Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder and his mother Camille Fortunato has been fighting for him since the moment he was born.
The way he lives today is a product of his mother’s love and sacrifice, not only for her son but generations to come.
“When you have a child who’s sick, that’s always something that’s in my mind, I go to bed with it at night and wake up with it every morning,” Fortunato said. “There’s not a second of the day that I don’t think it could be today.”
Williams Syndrome affects Anthony’s entire body.
Fortunato has dedicated herself to raising money for research that without her foundation, would never have been conducted.
“Shifting my efforts into Williams Syndrome research was a dream fueled by the fear of losing my child, that was it,” Fortunato said. “I was scared, really, really scared.”
Now she and her family are letting their faith carve out a path they’re hoping leads to a medical breakthrough.
Fortunato is a lifelong parishioner of St. Bernard’s Parish in Bergen Beach. She says her faith is what keeps her motivated but that wasn’t always the case.
“I’d say you could have done anything to me, why did you have to hurt him?” she said. “But part of how I’ve healed has been my way of coming to terms with maybe this is God’s plan. He knew we could take something that is really painful and personal and make good on it.”