SOUTH JERSEY (WTXF) - Presents under the tree and a house decorated for the holiday. But, Christmas is bittersweet for one South Jersey family this year. Their little boy needs a liver transplant.
It's been a tough couple of years for the family, but they're getting through it and staying positive.
"So, the GoFundMe is for my gorgeous nephew Francesco, the little bundle of joy," said aunt Mimma-Marie Cammarata.
2 1/2 year-old twin Francesco Cammarata, of Cherry Hill, is a jolly boy Christmas morning. He has a big breakfast, a big family by his side and an especially large stash of presents under the tree. But, Francesco needs one more gift.
"He is in liver failure now," said mom Maddalena Cammarata.
Francesco was born with biliary atresia.
"There's a blockage in the bile ducts. So, obviously, we need our ducts for bile to flow," explained Maddalena.
The disease can be fatal. He needs a new liver soon.
"It's crushing. We did not expect this at all for our son to be sick," stated Maddalena.
But, aunt Mimma-Marie is hoping to come to his rescue. The South Jersey high school teacher is undergoing testing to be Francesco's living donor, if she proves to be a match.
"We have the same blood type. He is O Negative. I'm O Positive, so that means I've made it through the first step," Mimma-Marie explained.
Cammarata recently created a GoFundMe page to educate family and friends about this rare disease.
"He's so strong. All the testing, recovery, surgery, everything and he's always smiling," said Maddalena.
The collection will help offset medical bills. The fierce fighter takes multiple pills each day and, come January 1st, one of those pills will top $2,800 a month.
"We just really wanna get that word out. There is no better gift than the gift of a life. You're alive. The person's alive because of you, because you so unselfishly gave of yourself to give a family the ultimate gift which is the gift of life," added Mimma-Marie.
Francesco's twin sister, Keyata and big sister Liliana are learning a lot at a young age. They have just one very big, heartfelt Christmas wish.
"That he gets better," said Liliana.
Anyone inspired to help the family can do so by donating at the GoFundMe page.