Written by Vilma Sceusa, firstname.lastname@example.org Thursday, 08 May 2014 00:00
Thomas Onorato, office manager for a Garden City-based medical office, and wife, Melissa, are humbled by the overwhelming support shown to them since their son Thomas Kevin Onorato was born. On April 19, the couple hosted a fundraiser for baby Thomas, who is suffering from microvillous inclusion disease. They anticipated 200 or 300 people, but the turnout was far more successful—more than 1,000 attendees flocked to Franklin Square’s Plattduetsche Park Restaurant to support the younger Thomas’ fight. Many were family and friends but larger numbers were people who were simply touched and inspired by Thomas’ story. At 7 months old, baby Thomas is unable to eat and absorb nutrients and he has spent nearly half his life in the hospital.
“As we planned this fundraiser we expected a modest 200 to 300 people, if we were lucky,” said Melissa Onorato. “Our good friend, Matt Buck, who runs the Plattduetsche Park, said that easily over 1,000 people showed up. As my husband and I stood on that stage, thanking our loved ones and our supporters, we were blown away by the sea of people.”
In his short seven months of life, Thomas continues to amaze his family. His struggles have buoyed his family to start a nonprofit organization to help others struggling with this rare disease. Thomas’ initials, “TKO,” in the boxing world means “technical knockout.” Tom who believes in his son’s strength began calling his son “TKO” and they dubbed the fundraiser and Thomas’ fight “TKO Strong.”
“Thomas has restored our faith and brought out unbelievable strength in the both of us, a strength neither knew we possessed,” said Melissa Onorato. “He is our angel and inspiration.”
Baby Thomas’ mom is a teacher in Queens while his paternal namesake is an administrator/office manager at Garden City’s All Island Dermatology Plastic Surgery & Laser Center. The twosome are currently waiting for state and government approval for the nonprofit but have faith that their venture will be successful. For the Onoratos, Thomas has paved the way to pursue their mission to raise funds and support research.
For further information or to make a donation, please visit www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/h614/tko-strong.