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Dec 9, 2021

When Nicole and James Angiolino’s son Joey was diagnosed with the rare disease Hurler’s Syndrome at seven months old, they did everything they could to save his life. They left their eldest son Nicholas, their family, friends, and teaching careers behind and headed to Duke University Hospital in North Carolina to get him the care he needed. James and Nicole remained unwavering in their fight for Joey, living in the hospital to ensure that Joey got every treatment option available. Their motto became Motivation, Perseverance, and Strength (MPS), mirroring the acronym for the medical term Mucopolysaccharidosis, from which Joey suffered. But after a tremendous battle, sadly, Joey passed away on July 16, 2010, at just 15 months old in Nicole’s arms.

Instead of crumbling under the grief of such an immense loss, they vowed to maintain the positivity and strength that Joey demonstrated to them throughout his journey. While it was extremely difficult, they marched on in honor of their son, and decided to help other families going through similar, challenging circumstances.

In episode 23 of The Latest Dose, Nicole and James Angiolino join us to talk about Joey’s Little Angels, the non-profit they founded in honor of Joey’s life and determination. With their last name Angiolino meaning “little angel” in Italian, Joey’s Little Angels’ mission is to provide financial and emotional support to families with children facing rare and difficult diseases.

To date, the non-profit has donated over $100,000 to the Duke Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Family Support Program. During the holiday season, Joey’s Little Angels organizes an annual toy drive with the support of volunteers and community leaders. Together, they have gathered 30,000+ toys nationwide for hospitalized children and their siblings. In the past, they’ve made pivotal donations to Duke University Hospital, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, RWJ New Brunswick, Capital Health, Boston Children's, Rutgers Cancer Institute, St. Christopher's Philadelphia, Cincinnati Children's Hospital, and many more. Their efforts in this space have made a tremendous difference in the lives of families with children undergoing medical treatment.