On March 13th, Sarina Vito, an 18-year-old from Elwood, was preparing to spend a weekend away with her mother at her very first orientation as an incoming fall freshman at High Point University in North Carolina.

Instead, the John Glenn High School senior’s entire world was flipped upside down by a devastating phone call: Sarina was diagnosed with acute myeloid (AML) leukemia—a cancer characterized by the production of a large number of abnormal white blood cells in the bone marrow.

Sarina was immediately admitted into the Cohen Children’s Medical Center, where she will require a lifesaving bone marrow/stem cell transplant after her third round of chemotherapy. She will also have to undergo fertility treatments in order to be able to have children of her own.

To help Sarina find her donor match as well as raise awareness and much-needed funds for not just her and her family’s battle with this disease, but also for childhood cancer foundations, her family, friends and the Elwood community are holding a bone marrow drive and fundraiser at John Glenn High School on Tuesday, April 25, from 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (Scroll down for official flier.)

This Bone Marrow Registry Drive & Sarina’s Strands of Strength Ponytail Drive will include bone-marrow test swabbing provided by Be The Match Foundation, a bake sale, a raffle with prizes, vendor tables, music by Tony Bruno, and hair extensions by Cactus Salons. Among its proud supporters: Be The Match Foundation, Mondays at Racine, Hair We Share and Cactus Salon.

The Sarina Strong Fund also has a GoFundMe Page collecting donations.

Although Sarina will be missing many things that she worked very hard for, this event will help her and her family in many other ways. As the organizers of this benefit understand, no family should have to suffer the devastating emotional, mental and financial strains a disease such as AML leukemia causes them, especially not alone.

Consider this post an open invitation for local businesses and members of the Long Island community to contribute and lend support by donating baskets, gift certificates, services, raffle prizes, food and/or refreshments, become a sponsor with monetary donations, or simply help spread the word—that’s why a special hashtag #SarinaStrong has been created to help raise awareness across social media; spread it far and wide!

Sarina and her family thank you in advance: Together, we can do this!

The #SarinaStrong Bone Marrow Registry Drive & Sarina’s Strands of Strength Ponytail Drive takes place Tuesday, April 25, 2017, from 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Elwood-John H. Glenn High School, located at 478 Elwood Rd., in Elwood, NY 11731.

Donations can be dropped off at any Cactus Salon or picked up by one of the committee members on or before April 22, 2017. To mail donations, please send to: #SarinaStrong C/O Cactus Group Holdings, 100 E. Jeffryn Blvd., Suite H, Deer Park, NY 11729. Attn: Karen Vito Please email sarinastrong@gmail.com for additional information.

Featured Photo: The Elwood Community is hosting the #SarinaStrong Bone Marrow Registry Drive & Fundraiser for Sarina Vito, 18, who is battling AML leukemia, at John Glenn High School in Elwood, on April 25, 2017. (Photo: #SarinaStrong GoFundMe page)

Sarina Vito Elwood Bone Marrow Leukemia