By Danny Schrafel
Marissa Pastore, the daughter of a Huntington Manor Fire Department captain who faced daunting medical challenges in her short life, died July 17, months after her diagnosis with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. She was 14 years old.
At Huntington Manor Fire Department, where she was a junior firefighter, mourning bunting hung from the front of the firehouse. The lightboard announces, “Heaven has a new angel.”
The Pastore family received the devastating news of their daughter’s cancer diagnosis on April 20. The same day, after Marissa was transferred to Cohen’s Children’s Hospital in New Hyde Park, where they learned that her body was unable to tolerate chemotherapy. In addition to battling leukemia, Marissa fought Down’s syndrome and had undergone open-heart surgery as an infant. After one round of chemotherapy on April 23, the hospital released her to hospice care.
Since taking her home, the Pastore family did everything they could to make Marissa’s final months as comfortable as possible, and the community rallied around the family.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation visited the family in early May with a cast of characters to throw a surprise party, complete with live performances from Frozen, Marissa’s favorite movie. Huntington Hospital co-workers of Marissa’s mother, Sonrisa, set up a GoFundMe page for the family so that they could stay home from work and enjoy their remaining time with Marissa without distraction.
After raising more than $30,000 in one day, the total as of Wednesday night eclipsed the $60,000 mark.
Marissa is survived by her parents, Domenick and Sonrisa; brothers Domenick and Ryan; grandparents Eugene Pastore and Edward and Gloria Phalen; as well as many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.
Memorial contributions can be made in her name to horseability.org or giftsfromtheheartfordowns.org.
Arrangements were by M.A. Connell Funeral Home in Huntington Station.