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Torrington sports and beyond rally behind one of their own. Rose Ciesco.

POSTED May 28, 2011
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

Former Torrington football standout, Michael Ciesco and his family, are rallying his mother, Rose, as she does battle with an aggressive form of Liver Cancer. A fund raiser is being held at P. Sam's in Torrington on Wednesday, June 29, from 5-8 p.m.

TORRINGTON: In one of the best movies ever made about the power of getting back what you give, one scene reminds me of something happening right here in Torrington as we speak.

“It’s a Wonderful Life”, is the classic story of George Bailey, a tremendous friend to his community who finds out what the world would be like if he had never been born.

A giver who took care of his family as well as others his entire life, Bailey soon discovers he is the one in need after a large financial blow turns his world upside down.

In one of the most poignant moments of the picture, the community he had worked so hard to help, comes to his aid in his hour of need.

Near the end of the film, “Uncle Billy” runs into the Bailey living room and explains what is happening to a stunned Bailey.

“Mary told us George,” Uncle Billy said, “Mary said you were in trouble, she spread the word George and the whole town is coming!”.

Such has been the response to the needs of Rose Ciesco, a local Torrington family member who is suffering from Bile Duct Cancer of the Liver.

Ciesco, who’s husband Gary and two son’s, Michael and Bruce, where all athletes at Torrington High School, has been an constant at her son’s games over the years and met her husband when they were sophomore’s at THS.

The treatments for this aggressive cancer have slowed the tide somewhat but this is a battle that has put a tremendous financial strain on the family.

Rose Ciesco’s current treatment plan includes some experimental drugs that bring with it an astronomical price tag.

“My wife takes 32 pills per day, seven days per week,” Gary Ciesco said, “We are about $80,000 dollars into this now and it’s not getting any better.”

The new treatments cost in the area of $5000.00 per month.

When friends of the Ciesco’s heard of this struggle, they put on their best “Uncle Billy” hats and went to work.

Two of the most influential coaches over the past 30 years at THS, Bruce Kazenetz and Tony Turina, have spearheaded a large group on a mission to help raise the funds necessary to keep this fight going.

Each man has a special connection to the Ciesco family; Turina’s wife Joanne is Rose’s sister while Kasenetz and Gary Ciesco go back to the days when Ciesco played for Coach K at THS.

“These are very proud people who have been dealing with this themselves for the longest time,” Turina said, “It’s just gotten to the point where it’s becoming impossible to handle all the expenses without losing everything.”

On June Wednesday 29, 2011, their will be a pasta supper at P.Sam’s Bar and Grill in Torrington from 5 to 8 p.m. Tickets are dollars with dollars going directly to the Ciesco’s to defer the never ending bills.

“We just couldn’t stand by and watch this happen anymore,” Kasenetz said, “Gary was one of my students back in the 70’s and has been a great friend for better than 39 years.”

Sports, and the battles that go with it, have been a staple in the Ciesco house since day one.

They approach this like they would any aggressive offensive opponent, with toughness and resolve.

Bruce Ciesco was a star for the Raiders on the gridiron back in 1998, paving the way for his younger brother, Michael, who quarterbacked the Raiders during his time on the field.

Michael Ciesco is a member and now President of the prestigious 1929 Club, an organization that recognizes the best Raider football player, on and off the field each year.

Both understand the value of family, always have, always will. They also understand how to protect one they love.

“We are playing defense right now,” Gary Ciesco said, “Our hope is that we can give this cancer a good stiff arm and keep it at bay. There is no cure but we are trying to keep my wife’s quality of life the best we can. The outpouring of support from the community has been amazing and we truly appreciate it.”

Some may just mistake T-Town for Bedford Falls (the town in the movie), according to Kasenetz.

“If there’s one thing I know,” Kasenetz said, “It’s that Torrington rallies around people in need, We will rally around Rose.”

NOTES: Tickets for the dinner are available at Alfredo’s Deli, Carvel Ice Cream, LaMonica’s Restaurant, Nautilus Plus and Fitness Center, Nicky G’s Wine and Spirits and the Torrington Municipal and Teachers Federal Credit Union.



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