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2020 Spring Appeal — Nathan's Story

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“Hospice means home to me. Without Hospice, we would not have been able to give Nathan the home that offered the care that he needed.”
- Becky Pitillo, Nathan's mother


During pregnancy, Becky and Greg Pitillo received news that no parent wants to hear – Becky’s pre-natal IMG_0196.jpgultrasound and MRI showed that their baby had cranial anomalies and microcephaly – his brain had stopped growing. Prior to birth, his prognosis was very poor – the doctors prepared the Pitillos for the worst. Becky and Greg’s excitement of becoming first-time parents was now overshadowed with fear and concern about the unknown.

Nathan was born September 5, 2018, with a very short life expectancy – he was missing the part of his brain that controls body movement. Essential Care for Children (EC) was there for the Pitillos from the beginning. Nathan went home under EC’s Hospice care after spending two weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. He required oxygen, feeding tubes and medication for uncontrolled seizures. With help from the EC Team, Nathan’s parent’s baptized him, and given his prognosis, helped them plan a funeral. Art Therapist created a “foot-painting” with Nathan for his parents as a beautiful remembrance.

“We were so overwhelmed with everything in the beginning that we didn’t even realize how many people were around us to help – and how helpful they were. Being a new parent is hard enough without all this other stuff. They [Essential Care staff] were fantastic,” said Greg.

God Winks-100.jpgTo everyone’s amazement, 17 months later, Nathan is still resilient. “We have come to expect the unexpected from our miracle child.” His symptoms are well-managed, and he continues to develop and grow in ways that were not anticipated. Nathan is gaining weight and surprisingly, moving his arms and legs. During music therapy, he attempted to reach for Gina’s guitar! The joy Nathan has brought to his family by just a smile or turn of his head is immeasurable. While his prognosis is still unknown, the understanding of his diagnosis and support from Essential care has greatly improved this quality of life.

Please consider giving to the Hospice Foundation so you can be a part of helping Nathan and other families who face unexpected challenges. Every gift goes directly to vital patient care, which also includes Expressive Therapies, such as music, art, and massage, to help patients like Nathan grow and flourish.

“Having help from Hospice is like having a whole other set of 
parents and family for Nathan.”

- Greg Pitillo, Nathan's father



Essential Care for Children’s mission is to provide the most comprehensive home-based palliative and hospice care to children with serious illness, helping minimize hospital stays and emergency room visits.

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If you would like to support Essential Care for Children, please make checks payable to Hospice Foundation:

Hospice Foundation
P.O. Box 590
Buffalo, NY 14240-0590

phone_icon_greydark.png  716-686-8090
Fax: 716-686-8181


Essential Care for Children

150 Bennett Road
Cheektowaga, NY 14227

phone_icon_greydark.png  716-686-8006
FAX: 716-901-0192

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The Hospice Foundation is a qualified 501(c) (3) non-profit charitable organization, tax ID 22-3137812. All gifts are tax deductible as provided by law.

A copy of our financial report is available from the Charities Registry on the New York State Attorney General’s website (www.charitiesnys.com), or  contact the New York State Attorney General, Charities Bureau, 28 Liberty Street, New York, NY 10005, or call the Hospice Foundation: (716) 686-9080.