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A look back at the top stories of 2014. A Purrfect Kidney Match for Samantha Hall. Raymond Fracasso to donate.

POSTED December 24, 2014
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

Meet Raymond Fracasso, pictured with Samantha Hall, the 10-year old Torrington girl who he will be donating his kidney to. A hero indeed. The transplant is scheduled for April 2, 2014.

TORRINGTON: He’s a 30-year old local man who has just become a 10-year olds best friend and best chance.

His name is close to a famous painters name and on April 2, 2014, he will paint his finest masterpiece as he saves the life of a local girl who saw a massive crowd show up to support her and meet the miracle man.

She is Samantha Hall, the little girl who has been looking for someone to donate a life-saving kidney and it turns a neighbor of hers is stepping up to fit the bill.

Torrington resident Raymond Fracasso (close to the artist Picasso), a friend of Sam’s father Dan, thought it would be a great idea to try and help save young Sam’s life.

“I got a text message that Dan had sent out the day before Christmas Eve,” Fracasso said. “I felt like I should help. Dan has done a lot for our family. We have an amazing neighborhood where everybody knows everybody and everybody helps everybody.”

Helping people seems to be in Fracasso’s blood (which is O negative by the way) in his job working for the Rem-Mentor Network, a job that has him helping people in need with ways on a daily basis. Connecticut has three branches, Fracasso works out of Middletown.

According to their web-site, the company was founded in 1980, the Mentor Network is a national network of local health and service providers offering an array of quality, community-based services to adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They also help victims of brain and spinal cord injuries and other catastrophic injuries and illnesses while also focusing on young people with emotional, behavioral and medically complex challenges as well as their families.

Word has gone out throughout the region around the holidays and this area responded as it always does. It showed up and helped. This was the third of many scheduled fundraisers that had taken place and to date over $14,000 has been raised, not including en event at Greenwoods Country Club or Wednesday night.

This seemed like a far off dream when word came out that a little girl near and dear to so many of our hearts was in trouble, to know Samantha is to love Samantha.

Nights and events like this are truly overwhelming for adults in the room, forget about a 10-year old girl who can’t wait to cross the finish line.

There is still work to be done though, according to Samantha’s mom Heather.

“She need a full month of dialysis without any problems and things continue to go well, as they have been, they hope to shoot for that first Wednesday in April.”

Several members of her immediate family have been trained to help give Sam the treatments at home.

After surgery, a week in the hospital will be followed up with three visits back for up to five months. If all continues to go well, the visits will become less frequent with the daily medicines decreasing as times goes on over the next year.

Each of these fundraisers is being help to assist on three fronts.

Medical bills for something like this, regardless of one’s insurance, can go through the roof in a big hurry.

Part of the funds will go towards helping doctors do some more tests on Samantha to see just why this hit a young lady who went into the hospital with pancreatitis and soon was told her kidney function had dropped from 70% to 7% in a big hurry.

Fraccasso will himself be out of work anywhere from three to eight months and the Hall family will offer financial assistance to help cover his bills while he is out of work.

Being approved for the right to save a life was something that Fraccasso was thrilled to hear when word came down that after 17 files of blood, a urine sample, physiological testing, meetings with the Kidney Transplant Coordinator, Colleen Smart and surgeons, it was really happening.

“I called Dan and said is this really true,” Fraccaso said. “I can tell everybody that it’s me? I was thrilled.”

For more information on how to help with the ongoing efforts and a fundraising schedule, go to

The room was packed with people who cared and with their love of a little girl and her (as her tee-shirt said) purrfect match.

We salute you Raymond, and yes, Everybody does love Raymond.

For more from Timothy W. Gaffney click here