BERLIN, Md. — The Mr. & Mrs. Riccio Foundation — founded by Oasis Bar and Grill owner Bobby Riccio and manager Jack Seamon — has been quietly changing the lives of children with special medical needs for the past 15 years. It’s a foundation that was created in honor of Riccio’s late parents, who unselifishly helped many children during their lives.
On Friday, June 3, the foundation will tee off its annual golf tournament, an a fundraiser which brings out golfers from Riccio and Seamon’s native Hazleton, Maryland’s Eastern shore and from up and down the East coast.
All proceeds will go toward the purchase of costly medical devices or therapies for children overcoming disabilities.
In the last year alone, the foundation gave approximartely $6,000 to two local children with serious conditions. That brought its total contributions to those in need to nearly $250,000 over the last 15 years.
The foundation also helps pediatric cancer patients, low income families, abused and terminally ill children or those with rare conditions to obtain a good quality of life. A dedicated board of directors seeks out opportunities to help families or other organizations dedicated to the same cause.
The tournament annually features ambassadors — children who have been helped by the foundation and are thriving. This year’s tournament ambassadors are Thomas Paddack, 8, and Alex Wood, 5, both of Ocean City, Md.
Thomas was born deaf, though he had no history of deafness in his family. His condition was determined to be Connexion 26, a protein found on the (GJB2) gene and is the most common cause of congenital sensorineural hearing loss.
The foundation helped fund bilateral cochlear implant surgery, which was performed at Johns Hopkins Hospital. A cochlear implant is a small electronic device that can provide a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf.
Thomas’ prognosis is promising as he is demonstrating age appropriate speech development and near normal hearing. He is on the honor roll at school and, while his challenges are not over, he has a bright future ahead of him.
In May 2015, Alex was diagnosed with craniopharyngioma, a rare tumor in the center of his brain. Within hours of diagnosis, the tumor was resected via frontal lobe craniotomy at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.
After his tumor was removed, Alex has had multiple complex conditions that require careful management, one of which is the brain’s inability to control the balance of sodium and water in the body due to the lack of production of the anti-diuretic hormone Vasopressin.
The condition, known as Diabetes Insipidus (DI), requires daily monitoring of fluid in and out of his body and constant Labcorp blood draws to check his blood sodium level.
The foundation funded part of the purchase of an iSTAT machine, a hospital-grade handheld device that allows for a sodium test to be taken at home via a finger prick and a few drops of blood. The machine produces results within minutes as opposed to laboratory draws that take up to days to get results. This allows for the family to make quick adjustments in Alex’s fluid intake to avoid dangerous changes in the balance of blood electrolytes.
“Helping these kids has been amazing and I know my parents would be proud to see their mission live on, “ Bobby Riccio said. “It is great to see the kids thrive and have fun making that happen.”
The 15th annual Mr. and Mrs. Riccio Memorial Foundation Golf Tournament will take place at the Bay Club Golf Course in Berlin starting on Friday June 3 and running through the weekend. Player spots and sponsorship opportunities are still available.
For more information, call Seamon at 443-614-1958, email ocmdgolf@gmail.COM or on Facebook, facebook.com/RiccioFoundation.
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