Mother's Day Concert to Benefit URMC's Blood and Marrow Transplant Program

May 10, 2000

It was the death of her beloved friend Kim DiFederico Hall in April 1999, that sprang Geneva resident Sally Ann Fratto to action. A gifted singer, but modest by all accounts, Fratto never allowed her beautiful voice to be heard in public outside of family weddings and funerals. Fratto didn't like "people looking at her" and never enjoyed being the center of attention.

After witnessing first hand the courage and bravery that her friend Kim Hall displayed during her seven year battle with chronic mylogenous leukemia, Fratto decided that her intense fear of performing in public was ever so insignificant by comparison. It was the push Fratto needed to record and release a compact disc of two operatic, calming versions of the traditional Hail Mary prayer Ave Maria. Dedicated in memory of Kim, Fratto has designated a portion of the CD's proceeds to the University of Rochester's Blood and Marrow Transplant Program. Kim Hall had undergone a transplant on Strong's Bone Marrow Transplant Unit in 1993 and was cared for by the unit until her death.

On Mother's Day, Sunday, May 14 at 3:30 pm, Fratto, along with fellow members of the Christian pop group, "All God's Children" will hold a special concert at the Geneva Opera House to promote her newly released CD. Proceeds from the concert will also be donated to the URMC Blood and Marrow Program. Tickets are available at the door (adults $5; children 5 -12, $3; under 4 are free) and in Geneva at Martin Music and Area Records. Currently, Ave Maria is only available for sale in the Geneva area, but will soon be sold through Rochester retailers. Following the concert, Fratto will present the Blood and Marrow Program with its first donation.

URMC's Blood and Marrow Transplant Program has performed over 1,100 transplants since its inception in 1989, and currently performs over 100 transplants per year utilizing multiple sources of stem cells. The program treats patients with many types of diseases and performs transplants with stem cells from bone marrow and the bloodstream. Patients' own cells, siblings' cells, and unrelated donors' cells are all utilized. In 1998, the center also began performing umbilical cord blood transplants, a relatively new procedure available only at certain designated centers across the country. The URMC program provides services to both adults and children throughout the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York and surrounding communities.

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