Greenwich-based Needs Clearing House focuses on 14-year-old with kidney disease
GREENWICH — The Greenwich-based Needs Clearing House non-profit is trying to raise funds to help a 14-year-old boy battling a rare kidney disease.
Former Southington resident Joey Bavaro’s family relocated two years ago to Florida’s warmth as part of a fight against the kidney disease he has had since he was diagnosed at 2 weeks old.
He received a kidney transplant from his mother 12 years ago but problems have persisted as his body tries to reject the kidney. Once again, he needs dialysis, an expensive treatment that requires a lot of doctor visits, putting a tremendous financial strain on Bavaro and his family, said Joe Kaliko, creator of the Needs Clearing House.
“We have a real soft spot for anything we can do to help children in need,” Kaliko said. “Joey has such an amazing spirit and to go through what he’s gone through and still be fighting and working toward a better future is so inspiring. We want people to be able to help.”
Kaliko said he first heard about Bavaro while he was working on another Needs Clearing House project with the Disability Resource Network in Bridgeport which provides assistance to students and adults with disabilities to help them live more independently. Kaliko became acquainted with Charlie Grewcock through the organization; Grucock knew Bavaro’s cousin, Ryan.
After hearing about Joey Bavara, Kaliko said he decided to commit the Needs Clearing House to the effort. The organization seeks donations and resources to help people in need.
Bavaro suffers from congenital nephrotic syndrome, a rare genetic kidney condition that can be cured but requires transplant and aggressive treatment.
Since the first diagnosis, Bavaro has gone through 30 procedures and surgeries including a double nephrectomy before his first birthday, where both of his kidneys were removed. On dialysis almost since birth, his mother, Christie, donated a kidney to him when he was 2.
According to the family, Bavaro has two blockages in his single kidney and needs dialysis every eight weeks. He needs long IV infusion treatments every four or five weeks to help keep his body from rejecting the kidney.
“The kidney is failing and he either needs another one or more expensive dialysis,” Kaliko said. “They’re in Florida for the warm weather and the family is not very good at fundraising. The Needs Clearing House is a perfect vehicle to help because being a (nonprofit) we can get larger donations that are tax deductible. And every cent we raise is going to the family. There’s no overhead or anything here. They get 100 cents on the dollar.”
The family has health insurance but only one of the parents is able to work because of Joey’s illness and the need for frequent doctor visits, said Christie Bavaro. The insurance is limited and Joey had to miss his first day of school because of his health; he and the family face uncertainty about another transplant.
“It has been a struggle for him dealing with complications and rejections,” Christie Bavaro said. “Unfortunately, the outcome will soon be another transplant that will eventually fail too. He has had and will continue with health struggles for the rest of his life and he is only 14. We just want the best for him. He has been such a strong and positive kid through all of this.”
A link is up online at www.theneedsclearinghouse.org for people interested in making a donation.
“The medical bills and other expenses are piling up for them and they need the help,” Kaliko said.