April 18, 2012BELMONT — People throughout Belmont and the Lakes Region awoke Monday morning to the sad news that Giovanni Guglielmo ("Baby Giovanni," as he had lovingly come to be known over the past five years) had passed away at Boston's Children's Hospital in the early morning hours of April 16.
Giovanni was born in 2006 with a rare immune disorder, known as nuclear factor Kappa B, or NEMO. He required a bone marrow transplant that sent his father, William Guglielmo, and mother, Christina Poulickos, in search of a donor to save his life. The elder Guglielmo established and participated in numerous bone marrow drives over the years, even after a donor for his son had been found.
Over the years, Giovanni periodically had medical setbacks, but continued to smile and inspire many people as he strove to live a life typical of any young boy.
Last weekend, though, those setbacks took a turn for the worse. According to widespread reports, Giovanni suffered a seizure while at Children's Hospital on Sunday, and was eventually declared brain dead from infection when doctors were unable to bring him back from a second seizure. Family and loved ones were by his side as he was removed from life support.
Throughout his short life, Giovanni became a symbol of bravery in his fight to survive. In and out of hospitals in Boston numerous times, he continued to shine as a beacon of hope for those with similar diseases and disorders as bone marrow drives held in his name helped bring the gift of life to many.
This past September, Giovanni entered kindergarten at Belmont Elementary School, and was loved by all who knew him there, as well.
Principal Emily Speare was heartbroken by the news, and expressed her sincere condolences to Giovanni's family.
"At Belmont Elementary, we are very much feeling the loss of little Giovanni. Our hearts go out to his family in their deepest sorrow," she said. "Our school community is greatly saddened by the terrible loss of this child who brightened our days."
In deference to their privacy, the Winnisquam Echo has decided not to disrupt Giovanni's family for a statement at this time. We would like to offer our sincere sympathy and heart-felt wishes to the family on their tragic loss, and hope we may pay further tribute to his short yet remarkable life in a future edition.