St. Stan’s community supports August Vinti’s family
By Jessica Meditz
Like most four-year-old boys, August “Auggie” Vinti has a contagious smile, loves spending time with his family and friends, and has big dreams of being a firefighter when he grows up.
That’s why it was so devastatingly shocking for all who know him when he was diagnosed with aggressive Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, or DIPG.
DIPG is a type of tumor that starts in the brain stem, which controls breathing, heart rate, and the nerves and muscles that help people carry out necessary functions. It has a survival rate of less than 2 percent.
Vinti’s family shared that the first signs of DIPG happened in May during school at St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Academy in Maspeth, where he attends.
School faculty thought he was having a seizure after waking up from a nap, and his parents immediately took him to the doctor, who told them he only had a sinus infection.
But his aunt, Nicole Vinti, knew there was something seriously wrong.
“I sent him right to the emergency room to a specialized hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian, because I knew they had a traumatic brain injury and neurology department,” Vinti said. “So we went there, and they found the tumor. His speech was slurred and he was off-balance.”
Vinti said that although the hospital was able to diagnose this rare, aggressive type of cancer, that fact unfortunately doesn’t give the family more optimism.
“We have clinical trials, so we might try those. But he’s in the middle of radiation right now,” she said tearfully. “It’s really scary, and who could ever think this could happen? You can’t imagine it happening to your family.”
To support the family through this difficult time, a GoFundMe was started on behalf of Vinti. At the time of publication, $57,760 had been raised.
In addition to the overwhelming community support for Vinti through the GoFundMe, the St. Stan’s school community came together last week for a Disney Dance-A-Thon and Bake Sale to raise funds.
The event raised an excess of $19,000 to benefit Vinti and his family.
“It’s so amazing that our community comes together to have a good time, but at the same time raises a tremendous amount of funds for one of our own families who is going through what no family should ever have to go through,” Catherine Mangone, principal of St. Stan’s, said.
“This is what I love most about this school, and what we raised from today does not count what we’ve raised before this, and what will come after,” she continued. “The GoFundMe is right on our website, and there’s a tab and it will take you right to it.”
Vinti and his family attended the Disney Dance-A-Thon on June 6.
His mom, Bailey Overko, expressed her gratitude for the Maspeth community coming together to support her son.
“It’s very nice, what they’re doing. It makes us feel really good,” Overko said. “We’re lucky we chose St. Stan’s as a school in the first place because we didn’t expect any of this or the way they’re coming together as a community. It’s just really great.”