Brave youngster celebrated at charity gala

PLAINVILLE – A local 6-year-old stricken with leukemia has been named “Child of the Year” by the Pediatric Cancer Awareness Organization at Southern Connecticut State University.

Adrianna, whose last name is being withheld for privacy reasons, was diagnosed with B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on March 8, 2021. A first-grader at Toffolon Elementary School, Adrianna has completed a year of chemotherapy and has 15 months of maintenance treatment remaining.

“We spent many nights in the hospital with treatments, and she just entered maintenance on April 1,” the girl’s mother, Michelle Donofrio, stated.

Maintenance treatment means chemotherapy will come in the form of a pill or liquid administered at home, and only one doctor's visit each month.

On April 29, SCSU’s Pediatric Cancer Awareness Organization held a charity gala on campus at Engleman Hall. There, Adrianna – the “Child of the Year” – was recognized.

“The gala was an opportunity to spread awareness regarding pediatric cancer and how we can all help,” Michelle Donofrio said. “It was a heartfelt evening that we will always cherish, and we thank everyone who organized, donated, and attended this event.”

PCAO president Asher Zaccagnino said when the organization was founded in 2020, one aim was to celebrate a “Child of the Year” and surround them with love and support, while aiding their family financially.

“It was amazing to watch Adrianna's community, along with our SCSU community, come together to celebrate her for a night,” Zaccagnino said. “Adrianna and her family deserved it, and I hope they got as much out of it as I did.”

It appears that they did. Walking out of the gala, Michelle Donofrio shared that Adrianna said, “that was the best night ever!”

Those wishing to donate to Southern Connecticut State University's Pediatric Cancer Awareness Organization should contact Asher Zaccagnino at



More From This Section