By Barett Poley
Toronto, Ontario — April 9, 2017 — Alex Mandarino has had a rough few years. Diagnosed with leukemia at 20 years old, he had to put his life on hold to focus on the arduous and demanding cancer treatments. It was a life changing experience. Two years later, he’s ready to move forward with life. The first step: enjoying a Toronto Maple Leafs game in a great seat, courtesy of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) and Joe Di Carlo, Owner/Operator at CSN-J&J Dominion Collision.
Di Carlo became aware of Alex’s struggle through his son Daniel, who works for MLSE, and from that point forward, he knew he had to do something.
“If you’re past 18, there’s not many options for you. If you’re a young adult, you still have school to focus on. You still have a lot you’re going through, and Alex had to put that on hold. I knew I had to help him out and do something kind for him,” says Di Carlo.
Alex’s mother, Val Mandarino, shares the sentiment. “There is really nothing out there for kids going through this once they are over 18 yet they are still kids at 20, when he was diagnosed, so I’ve been trying to reach out on my own to find ways to give him some special moments,” she says. “”That this all came together as it did was a wonderful miracle.”
Di Carlo donated Toronto Maple Leaf tickets to Alex and his parents. The MLSE set Alex up with a signed jersey from Maple Leafs Defenceman and IIHF Gold Medal Champion Morgan Rielly, and a meet and greet with Hall of Famer Darryl Sittler.
For Di Carlo, though, his donation was nothing out of the ordinary. He says the collision repair business has many people who are willing to step when there is a need. They continue to do so even though it’s rarely acknowledged.
“Personally, I think the people in the collision repair industry do so much more than they are ever given credit for,” he says. “No matter what industry you’re in, you can find ways to give back to the community, but the collision repair industry goes so above and beyond in their communities. This was one of many things that the industry does.”
Val says she and the family are incredibly thankful. “As a parent nothing prepares you to watch your child go through such an extremely difficult and frightening experience,” she says. “Having moments like last night doesn’t make up for any of what he’s gone through or missed out on these past two years, but it certainly gave us an evening to start to begin to heal and start to smile again as we watched our son having such a great time!”
For more information, please visit csninc.ca/jjdominion-windsor.