Friends of Francesca, North Jersey Chapter Plan November 3 Dinner Dance

September 26, 2011 – You can never have too many friends – especially when they’re as dedicated as the “Friends of Francesca,” who are working with the new North Jersey chapter of CAF to put on a special dinner dance on November 3 to raise funds for CAF. This wonderful evening will take place at The Grove, 691 Pompton Avenue, in Cedar Grove, NJ; cocktails are at 7:00 and dinner begins at 8:30. Entertainment will be supplied by the Time Machine Band. Tickets are $125, and more details can be had by contacting Arlene Catanzano (973-226-4418) or Olga Pomaco (973-226-2430) or emailing To download an invitation, click here. To download information on the dinner journal, click here.

The North Jersey Chapter

“The new North Jersey chapter is a great place for patients, families and friends to come together to further the mission of CAF, share experiences and provide support to each other and the patients in northern New Jersey,” says chapter President Amy Celento. “Join today as a founding member!”

Other chapter officers include Vice President Debanjali Mitra, Secretary Patty Stiso and Treasurer Enza Stiso. The chapter meets monthly.


“The Friends of Francesca” Committee

Kristin Cassano
Arlene Catanzano
Donna Cifelli
Journie Cifelli
Faith Costible
Marilyn D’Angelo
Michele Del Sordi
Courtney Delaney
Jessica DiMarco
Josephine Finelli
Joan Masella
Patricia Pallante
Olga Pomaco
Carol Spina
Allison Ventola
Joyce Ventola

“Francesca” is Francesca Ventola, an adorable 14-month-old girl with thalassemia. Described by her parents as “very happy, curious and always smiling,” her favorite activities include hitting the keys on her parents’ computers, brushing her teeth, and taking things out of drawers and cabinets and putting them back. A Mickey Mouse doll is her favorite toy.

James Ventola, Francesca’s father, says that the “Friends of Francesca” came about because “a committee of people, including my mother, mother-in-law, sister-in-law, family and friends came together with the goal of raising money for a cure.”

“Francesca is the biggest joy in our lives, and we will do whatever it takes to help her and help the lives of any child living with this disease,” say James and Allison, his wife. “We believe that awareness is crucial to prevention, and having options in treatment (such as the recent recommendation of approval for Ferriprox) will make this disease extinct.”

CAF thanks the North Jersey chapter and the Friends of Francesca for taking such an active role in the fight against thalassemia.

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