Nicholas Saladino has been overcoming the odds since he was a baby, and his grandmother Nekki, a Bellmore resident, couldn't be prouder.
Nicholas, who used to live in Bellmore before relocating to Vermont, was diagnosed with down syndrome as a baby, and a geneticist told his family that he would never learn to read or write, but his parents wouldn't accept that fate.
"He's a marvelous boy," Nekki said about Nicholas, who's now 16. "He reads, writes and plays basketball. He also received a gold medal last winter at Haystack Mountain [during the Special Olympics]."
Nekki said, as a grandmother, it's hard to describe in words what it means to the family to see Nicholas prosper.
"It's a thrill of a lifetime, considering what he's been through and what we were told," she said.
Now, Nekki has taken her experience and has become a fundraising coordinator for the "One Million Pennies Campaign," which is AbilityPlus' program to raise money for the less fortunate.
"It will allow anyone with a problem to be taught different things," Nekki said. "It's the most wonderful program."
To learn about how you can participate in the "One Million Pennies Campaign," email Nekki Saladino at NSaladino@abilityplus.org.
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