Groundswell of support for Lake County boy diagnosed with leukemia
By Tracy Jacim, Anchor -
LAKE COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -
One look at Jack Garofono and you see he was willing to put action behind his words of support. The Lake County firefighter shaved his head to joining veteran firefighter and friend Nick Ryon, Nick's wife Maggie, and the couple's son, Jay.
Just last Thursday, doctors diagnosed 6-year-old Jay with leukemia.
"The boy was very healthy and evidently started running a low-grade fever," said Lake County Firefighter Lt. Barry Fitzgerald. "So, Maggie took him to the doctor where they drew some precautionary blood work, and they got those results."
"It hit home, because his son and my son are roughly close in age," said fellow firefighter Clayton Vaughn. "So, when we heard that happened, it broke everyone's heart."
Then, even more firefighters in Lake County shaved their heads.
Before long, this head-shaving show of support for little Jay grew, as evident by the posts on the family's "Team Jay" Facebook page. In fact, in just one short week, the "Team Jay" group now has over 6,000 members, with responses from all around the world. Posts have come in from Alaska and even Antarctica.
Garofono said, "It's a long ways away, and it shows how much a family we are. It doesn't matter if they don't know the person; they understand what we go through, because they go through the same thing. It's something that's a brotherhood, a sisterhood of everybody."
Vaughn added, "The guys here on tomorrow's shift called and asked, 'Do you have your clippers? Bring them! We'll shave everyones' heads.' We did it and sent him a picture!"
So what was Jay's response?
"Dad said he loved it! Anything for a little boy, for Jay," said Vaughn.
We could not interview Jay for this story due to his condition. His parents tell us the prognosis for their son is good, though it will be a long battle.