HomeSicklerville NewsNational charity makes Disney trip possible for two ill Sicklerville children

National charity makes Disney trip possible for two ill Sicklerville children

Baking Memories 4 Kids visited the Mantoans last week, gifting the family a trip to Florida

The Mantoan family, including sister Edie, Brother Byron and mom Kelly watch as Baking Memories 4 Kids founder Frank Squeo tells brothers Fulton, 9, and Teddy, 7, about their upcoming trip to Disney.

Fire trucks, cookie tubs and a stuffed Mickey Mouse were scattered across a Sicklerville lawn on a chilly morning last Thursday.

In two months, the Mantoan family, residents of the home, will swap the winter weather and plush toy for Mickey mascots and Floridian forecasts thanks to Baking Memories 4 Kids — a national charity utilizing the sales of chocolate chip cookies to send children with life-threatening or terminal illnesses and their families on all-expense-paid, week-long vacations to all the Florida theme parks.

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The organization, founded by New York-based testicular cancer survivor Frank Squeo in 2012, sent nearly 45 children on trips in 2017 alone, including Teddy, 7, and Fulton, 9, Mantoan who are surviving with type 2 Spinal Muscular Atrophy, causing the brothers to be wheelchair bound.

“I was very sick, too, one time, and I was able to make it through for one reason only,” Squeo said. “I was born to be standing here on your driveway this day in 2017, so I can give you guys this trip.”

In February, the family will visit theme parks such as Disney World and SeaWorld, where they’ll receive an assortment of accessible accommodations, including jumping ahead of long lines and staying in a one-floor resort that provides a special pool with wheelchair accessibility.

Squeo connected with the parents, Tony and Kelly, in May but their children, including adolescent siblings Addie, Edie and Byron, were surprised with the exhilarating news.

“For two wheelchairs and all of the equipment, it’s really difficult for us to take big family trips, so this is just incredible. Everything is taken care of for us,” Kelly said. “It’s more accessible accommodations than we could have ever afforded on our own, so we’re just so thankful for Baking Memories for this opportunity.”

The Mantoans moved to Sicklerville nine years ago shortly after Fulton was born.

Sequo, whose nonprofit sells nearly 10,000 cookie containers each year, took a three-hour drive to South Jersey from his home outside of Manhattan.

Transforming into a community service, the Winslow Township Fire Department, police department and EMS escorted Sequo and his team in a procession down Cedarbrook Road to the Mantoan home on Grove Street.

The fruition of this trip was not only satisfying for Sequo but also for local first responders.

“This is just an amazing experience. The emergency services should not just come in contact with people on their worst days,” Winslow Township Fire Department Chief Marc Rigberg said. “And we pride ourselves here in Winslow Township for being very integrated into our community.”

Sequo expressed his gratitude for Winslow Township’s “unbelievable” contribution to the event, saying the organization feels blessed by the township’s support.

Squeo strives to continue the efforts of Baking Memories 4 Kids, hoping to make ordinary family vacations not only possible but accessible for ill children across the United States.

“I knew there was a purpose for my pain, and the purpose was to someday be able to help families with young children going through the same struggle,” Sequo said. “Those cookies are so powerful that they change the future for these families. They now have videos and pictures that they can look at of a week that there were no tears — just happy tears.”


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