Named ‘Trailblazer of the Year’ for Women’s History Month
They say there is nothing stronger than a mother’s love. When the going gets tough, then, look to a mother to see what it means to show true strength.
Glen Cove mom Laura Perfetti has been a shining example of someone who has responded to the hardest of news with courage and determination. Because of this, she was chosen during Women’s History Month to be honored as our area’s Trailblazer of the Year at the Nassau County Legislature by Delia DeRiggi-Whitton, legislator of the 18th LD.
A mother of four, Laura found out that one of her kids, Julia, has a rare affliction known as neurofibromatosis, or NF. Basically, this means that cells in her daughter’s body move too fast. This causes numerous tumors to grow, throughout the entire body, sometimes right on nerves. That makes it is difficult or impossible to operate. Worse, even when surgery is possible, new tumors grow back anyway. This is a painful and traumatic experience for a child and the whole family.
Once hit with news of this, Laura, along with her husband Anthony Perfetti, found the strength to dedicate an amazing amount of energy and passion to raise funds and awareness for NF research.
At the start of their plight, there was little in the way of relief for NF. Any experimental treatment has to be paid for out of pocket, just to try to get results. These could cost around $25,000 at a time. Therefore Laura and supporters somehow went into high gear, organizing auctions, marathons, dinners, even a carnival at the Perfetti house, to raise in total almost $300,000 for the Children’s Tumor Foundation to do research that could lead to a cure.
Her efforts have even led to an appearance on the Today Show and an invitation to the White House.
Laura has said that 10 years ago there was no treatment for NF. Now, there are 25 drug trials going on thanks to the supporters who have donated to her causes and others benefiting the Children’s Tumor Foundation.
Laura has always praised the community for being so supportive. In newspaper articles and on her blog and website, she always thanks and recognizes all those who donate or lend a hand for her many fundraising efforts.
However, Women’s History Month shines a light on women who have made a difference throughout time. It is an opportunity to honor women who are a role model for all people. Because of this, Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton nominated Laura to be recognized by the Nassau County Legislature’s Trailblazer ceremony. At an emotional event, Laura joined the stage with 13 other women from throughout the county who stand out for their astounding strength and amazing achievements.
Legislator DeRiggi-Whitton said, “Laura is a perfect example of someone who has faced a great challenge with strength and grace. I am so impressed with her fundraising ability and the way she has educated so many about the affliction of NF.”
Laura thanked the legislator, saying, “I was moved and honored to receive such a significant award. I feel very appreciative of Delia’s ongoing support throughout the years.”
She pointed out that both moms share the situation of fighting for their kids’ health. DeRiggi-Whitton fundraises for and is on the board of the Diabetes Research Institute.
Laura continued, “Delia’s speech was very moving and touching. Especially because we both have kids with different needs. I am very happy she is in the Legislature and look forward to her making a difference.”
Laura has been involved with the Children’s Tumor Foundation since the fall of 2008. Currently she is the Chapter President for New York and has been the Chapter President for Long Island since December of 2008. She lives in Glen Cove with her husband Anthony and their four children, AJ, 12; Julia, 9; Jacqueline, 5; and Alexander, 3. Laura is a fourth-grade teacher at Syosset Central School District since 1998.
To make a donation or learn more about Laura’s efforts to fight NF, visit http://www.teamjuliabug.com.