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May 8, 2022 - 8:00am

Photos: 2022 Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation Derby Day Gala

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In August 2019, life in the Morgante family went from happy-go-lucky to something far more stressful.

Doctors found that Donato, at 13 months old, had cancer.  His little kidney had swollen, and it was essentially a single mass of diseased tissue.

The good news, if there was any, was that the cancer was stage one.  It hadn't spread to any other organs.  After six months of chemo, Donato was in remission and doctors estimate that he has a 91 percent chance of remaining in remission.

That news brought a round of applause from the more than 200 in attendance at the annual Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation Derby Day Gala Saturday at Terry Hills.

Along with the doctors, this was the foundation that gave the Donato family -- Joe and Jackie along with their other four children, Nina, Ryan, Vincent, and Coleman -- the most hope and the most support.

"They really got us through the most trying time of our lives," Joe said.

After Joe shared his family's experience, Laurie Napoleone presented Joe with a giant $2,000 check as a gift from the Foundation. Joe immediately said "We're donating it back."  Laurie wouldn't have it. "No," she said. "Go do something fun with your family.  Go on a vacation."  

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