The Valentinos

Michael and Lauren Valentino of Wrightsville Beach never suspected that their perfectly healthy and energetic three-year-old son Vincent might be sick.

The ValentinosAfter a routine visit with his pediatrician a mass was found in Vincent’s abdomen. They were in complete shock but wasted no time traveling to UNC where Vincent was seen by Dr. Stuart Gold, head of pediatric hematology/oncology.  Michael and Lauren recall how Dr. Gold put the entire family at ease and laid out the recommended treatment plan for their son.  The plan involved major surgery to remove the tumor. This was a scary and stressful time, so when good friends Ken and Cheryl Williams made available their Chapel Hill condo while Vincent was in the hospital, it was heaven sent. 

Vincent’s prognosis was thankfully excellent following surgery.  The recovery was lengthy and challenging for a young child, but Vincent was a trooper and did remarkably well.  Also the parents of a one-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter, the Valentinos felt incredibly fortunate to come through their ordeal with such positive results.  "We are so grateful to Dr. Gold, UNC Lineberger and our friends Ken and Cheryl," says Lauren. "We would like to find ways to give back, perhaps help families less fortunate.”

Prior to Vincent’s recent check-up at the cancer hospital, the Valentino family asked if they could “adopt” a needy family to fulfill their wishes for Christmas.  Dr. Gold matched them with a family whose five-year-old son is in cancer treatment and whose financial hardship was going to make it difficult for them to buy gifts for their children.  The Valentinos were pleased to oblige and brought armfuls of wrapped clothes and gifts to the hospital for the entire family.