MILFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A community in Milford Sunday rallied around a little boy who is suffering from a rare neuro-genetic disorder. For a little more than a year family and friends have been raising awareness hoping to one day find a cure.
Joey Moretti is 3-year-old. When he was just 19-months-old he was diagnosed with a rare disorder known as Angelman Syndrome, which affects one in every 15,000 children at birth.
“Many struggle to speak, sleep, eat; seizure disorders are a huge part of Angelman Syndrome,” Joey’s mother Tai Moretti said. “It’s a tough road for many families.”
Joey isn’t able to walk or talk, challenges that have been difficult for his parents.
“It’s been a huge struggle,” Tai said. “Many, many sleepless nights. Joey has seizures. He’s one of the 20 percent in his genotype who suffers from seizures.”
“It’s been hard, you know,” Joe Moretti, Joey’s father, said. “It’s been a learning experience, researching and trying to learn as much as possible about the disorder.”
The love for Joey and his family is clearly visible. Last year, friends of the Moretti’s came together and started the Fighting Angels Foundation.
“As soon as we learned about the disease we knew we needed something more than that and we realized we need a cure for everyone with Angelman Syndrome, and that’s what we are trying to do,” Frank Lieto, president of the foundation, said.
Events have been held all year raising money for research. on Sunday, roughly 200 people came out to take part in the 5k Angel Run in Milford. It’s an event that was made possible by many people in the community.
“To give back from our family to theirs, to just simply give back,” said Stephanie Koutikas, co-owner of The Greek Spot Cafe. “It’s our mission as a family.”
Joey is currently going through treatment for his disorder. His parents say their goal is to get him as highly functioning as possible, but they also have a message to families out there who may be going through the same thing.
“Just don’t give up on your kid, Tia said. “Keep going, keep fighting. Those days when you feel down and out and you feel like it’s almost impossible — your kid is smart. They know what they’re doing. Just keep giving them the support and they will do it. They will get there.”