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In Honor of Grace Esposito

Strong Kids Newsletter
CMNH Telethon celebrates 30th anniversary


In Honor of Grace Esposito

The miracle of Grace Esposito wasn’t just her survival for 16 too-short months; it has also been how she has inspired and brought together so many people since she passed away in February. On June 6, her memories lit up the recently renovated Strathallan for an evening fundraiser in her honor for Golisano Children’s Hospital.

The Strathallan’s recently updated first and top floors hosted 250 people who enjoyed heavy hors d'oeuvres and two bands that donated their services – Mike Vadala Trio and Different Every Time. Everywhere were flashes of Grace’s trademark color – a vibrant pink, as bright as her eyes. It dominated the color of summer dresses, men’s polos and the signature drink of the night, a pink lemoncello. But even more present was her memory which fueled the fundraiser and raised $26,000 in just a few hours.

“The pain of losing Grace sets in more and more each day,” Jennifer Johnson and Vinnie Esposito said. “It’s a lonely feeling but the event was a nicely timed reminder of the love so many had for her and have for us. Despite such sadness, we are so very lucky to be surrounded by love, support, and people who appreciate what this hospital does and the new friends we made along our family's journey. The fact that the event was also a fundraiser for the new hospital is proof to us it is being built with love and it is an honor that our daughter's legacy is a part of that.”

Grace was born on Sept. 19, 2011, with a severe congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH), a hole in the diaphragm that separates the organs of the belly from the chest. As she formed, it allowed her intestines, stomach and part of her liver to move up and push her heart out of place. It also left very little room for her lungs to form and grow. She had only a one in five chance of survival. Grace pushed through and stayed strong for months to come, inspiring her family, providers, the community, and other CDH families. Because of her persistence against difficult odds, Grace was named a 2012 Miracle Kid, an ambassador for Golisano Children’s Hospital. She also earned the name “Amazing Grace.” Sadly, after a surgery to repair a new hole that formed in her diaphragm she passed away on February 16, 2013.

Even still, the family wanted to continue a fundraising effort launched months before to name a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit room in the new children’s hospital in Grace’s honor. The incredibly successful effort has been led by the Genesee Division Kiwanis Club of which Vinnie is a member and the president of the Irondequoit club. The group, with the family’s support, has met and exceeded the goal, with no sign of slowing.

“This community has really rallied around the Espositos, and by the time this hospital is complete, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Grace’s name on a few important places inside it,” said Betsy Findlay, director of Advancement for Golisano Children’s Hospital.

We thank our major sponsors of this event and appreciate their support in helping to make the event a great success:

  • The DiMarco Group
  • The Strathallan
  • Constellation
  • Campus Construction
  • Christa Companies
  • Joe Morelle, Monroe County Democratic Party
  • Integrated Facilities Solutions
  • LiDestri
  • Palmer’s Foods
  • Radec Corp.
  • Rainaldi Bros.
  • Summit Federal Credit Union