In the 90th Psalm, Moses wrote, “Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” That’s a truth that has decorated the halls of history and spanned societies.
According to NY1, Anthony Capece was just like any little boy in most ways. The youngster from Staten Island, New York, loved “Star Wars” and Legos.
But when he was 8 months old, his mother, Danielle, noticed that something wasn’t right with her son. It wasn’t that he acted in grumpy or cantankerous way.
“He was the son any mom would wish for and that anyone would say ‘parenting is so easy!’” she wrote as part of a GoFundMe campaign. “He was so good with a passive behavior and so alert with a smile that would light up the room.”
Despite that, he had a hard time sitting up and couldn’t do things that other toddlers managed. Physicians struggled to diagnose exactly what was wrong with Anthony until he started having seizure after seizure on April 23, 2016.
It turned out that Anthony had MELAS syndrome, a rare genetic condition. The U.S. National Library of Medicine’s Genetic Home Reference states that sufferers “experience stroke-like episodes” and that “repeated stroke-like episodes can progressively damage the brain, leading to vision loss, problems with movement, and a loss of intellectual function (dementia).”
And that’s what happened to little Anthony. When he was 5 years old, his symptoms had become so severe that it cost $350,000 per week for Philadelphia Children’s Hospital to care for him.
Danielle and her husband, who is also named Anthony, started a fundraiser with a $1 million goal. The elder Anthony even quit his job in construction to care for his son while his wife continued her teaching career in order to maintain the family’s health insurance coverage.
“I want my son to live and have a lifespan longer than 15 years of age,” said Danielle. Tragically, that was not to be.
During September, little Anthony’s health declined rapidly. The Staten Island Advance reported that he started having digestive and excretory issues.
“He was very weak,” his father said. “We could tell the disease had taken its ultimate toll on him.”
The family took him home, and Danielle cradled him in his final moments. “I held his head and told him it’s OK,” she said.
“It’s OK to give up. Say goodbye to mommy.”
And that was exactly what the young boy did. “His mom was talking to him, and he listened to her, [and] he stopped breathing,” the elder Anthony said.
Beyond heartbreaking, and it should remind us not only to pray for the Capece family, but also to take stock of our own lives. May we all live the time we have to the fullest.
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