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Family of newborn saved by Children's Wisconsin to host fundraiser in honor of child's 9th birthday

Among the restaurants participating in Thursday's fundraisers are the Calderone Club and San Giorgio Pizzeria.
Posted at 6:54 PM, Aug 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-24 19:54:49-04

MILWAUKEE — It was a terrifying moment that Gino Fazzari and his wife never saw coming. In 2013, their daughter Vivianna who had just been born was rushed to Children's Wisconsin after she had trouble breathing.

"She had no pulse. There was about a team of 12 people working on her and she was on the hospital table. I could see that she was not gray anymore, she was blue and she was not breathing," said Fazzari.

Hospital staff resuscitated Vivianna and doctors were able to figure out what went wrong. She tore her thoracic duct during birth.

"The breastmilk was spilling into her chest cavity and what happened was she was suffocating. She was drowning. She was suffocating to death and nobody knew," said Fazzari.

After spending 27 days in the NICU, Vivianna went home. Now, her dad says she's a perfectly healthy kid who turns 9 years old Thursday.

In honor of her birthday, Aug. 25, and to thank Children's Hospital for saving his daughter's life, Gino and his family are hosting their 3rd annual Do Good With Food event. It is a fundraiser where 34 local restaurants signed up to donate a portion of their food and beverage sales for the day to Children's.

RELATED COVERAGE: Eat at any of these 34 restaurants and support Children's Wisconsin

"I was overwhelmed that the community stepped up and the partners stepped up to join this initiative," said Fazzari.

Among the restaurants participating in Thursday's fundraisers are the Calderone Club and San Giorgio Pizzeria, which Fazzari owns, along with taco eatery Vagabond and Water Street Brewery.

"Everybody in the community knows Children's Hospital. They have a very good footprint on the community, everybody has someone affiliated with it. It's a great foundation to give back to," said Kelley Cramer, the media and marketing director for Vagabond and Water Street Brewery.

Officials with Children's say donations received will go to certain departments within the hospital that played a part in saving Vivianna's life.

"Some of the money will go to support the work that we are doing in the emergency department and trauma center, some of the money will also go to support the work in our NICU, and then our Nourishing Partner's Program," said Christine Baranoucky, the vice president of engagement and stewardship for Children's Wisconsin.

"We could never repay Children's for what they've done for us. Whatever we can do to give back and say thank you to all those doctors, to Children's, we'll continue to do," said Fazzari.

Restaurants participating in the Do Good With Food fundraiser are found below:

Beverage-focused participation:

  • *Bartolotta Restaurants: 100% of proceeds from the Bartolotta Heritage Collection wine will be donated to Children’s.
  • **Black Husky Brewing: A percentage of beer sales will be donated to Children’s.
  • ***Carnevor: 100% of sales from two specialty cocktails will be donated to Children’s.

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