By Katie Kausch
The family of Nico Amadio, an 11-year-old with a brain abnormality, wants to cheer him up by asking strangers to send him Christmas cards.
BLOOMINGDALE, NJ — 2017 was a hard year for 11-year-old Nico Amadio. The Bloomingdale resident has been living with seizures and the effects of a serious abnormality in his brain, which have started to cause him to become withdrawn and depressed.
As the holidays approach, his family and friends are looking to strangers to help cheer him up, by asking for Christmas cards for Nico.
The Christmas card idea came around when Nico’s supporters began asking how they could cheer him up during his medical battles, mom Jeannina Amadio told Patch. Nico’s cousin, Jenni Perry, came up with the holiday card idea after seeing a friend in another state do it for their child.
“She figured it would be a great way to cheer up Nico and let him know that there people all over who love him and want him to get better,” Amadio told Patch.
So far, it’s worked. Nico has received around 20 cards since the weekend, and they’ve already brought a smile to his face.
“When the first batch arrived he was in awe and very excited! He kept asking me how all these people knew who he was!” Amadio said.
Nico’s medical battles have spanned years. He was first diagnosed with a ruptured arteriovenous malformation (or AVM) in his brain in January 2015. He spent over a month in the hospital, and doctors told him it was inoperable. To treat it, he was given an intense dose of radiation directly to his AVM in hopes it would destroy it over a four-year period.
Since the procedure in Oct. 2015, Nico was diagnosed with secondary focal epilepsy, which causes exhaustion, pain and keeps him out of school. Over the past year and a half, Nico has tried ten medications with no luck, and now endures up to 250 partial seizures a way.
“He is so exhausted every day from his numerous seizures that even a quick trip to the supermarket takes its toll on him so his social interaction is very limited. Receiving cards in the mail is the bright spot in his day,” Amadio told Patch. Nico will undergo an intense surgery to correct the seizures next year, which will include removing a piece of his brain.
Through it all, Nico has remained positive, and wants to use his experience to help others in the future.
“Between not attending school with his friends and giving up his favorite sport (wrestling), he has had to make plenty of adjustments in life. He has accepted his role as ‘AVM Warrior’ with stride and subsequently has taken on a battle with epilepsy as well,” Amadio said. ”
Through it all, he remains a sweet, big-hearted child that dreams of being a brain surgeon one day and curing AVM’s for good! I know he was meant for great things, and we just need to get him past these rough spots!”
Anyone interested in sending Nico a holiday card can address them to Nico Amadio, 13 Orchard Street, Bloomingdale, NJ 07403.