James & Gina Giordano

James Giordano

James Giordano


James Giordano, also known as Jimmy was born in Sicily, Italy in 1936 and immigrated to the United States when he was 18 years old.  He arrived with pennies in his pocket and was unable to speak the English language. With determination, he set out to find a job, but no one gave him a chance. With unwavering ambition, he hustled until he made a solid, reputable name for himself. 
 

James was a mechanic by trade and later used his entrepreneurial skills to start his own business in the automotive world. His business started in the basement of his home in Brooklyn, NY where he lived with his wife, Gina and their young children.  He worked tirelessly by day in an automotive repair shop, and fixed transmissions at night.  His expertise, dedication and honesty established his extraordinary reputation that earned him a fortunate, new opportunity.  He opened his own dealership which is still known today as Brooklyn’s only BMW dealership for over 56 years. This once tiny mom and pop shop grew into a multigenerational business, employing many dedicated people over the remaining decades of his life and beyond. 

In his personal life, Jimmy enjoyed success and endured hardship.  He was no stranger to defeat and overcoming the odds. In 1960, he and his wife, Gina were blessed with a beautiful daughter named Vivian, who was born with a rare genetic blood disorder called Cooley’s anemia.  At the time, not much was known about the disorder.  Doctors couldn’t tell the Giordano’s what to do for their child.  They only knew that she could not produce the hemoglobin her cells needed for survival.  The options they were given were to transfuse her with ongoing blood transfusions or not to transfuse her.  If they transfused her, she would feel better, but she would have a shortened life expectancy due to iron building up in her organs.  If they did not transfuse her, she may live longer but she would become severely anemic and feel worse.  The Giordano’s decided to transfuse their daughter so she would feel better while she was alive.  The hard part was that as she aged, she developed complications due to iron overload causing damage to her organs. She needed medication that was not invented yet, to reduce the amount of iron that was building up in her body.  But it  took 18 years for it to be discovered and made available to patients. 

Within those 18 years, Jimmy was a leader in supporting the cause for a better life for people living with Cooley’s anemia.  He and his wife joined the Brooklyn Chapter, which was a support group created by parents of other children living with Cooley’s anemia. Together they organized and ran blood drives, raised money and spread awareness about their cause.  The slogan at the time was, “Help us kiss our kids goodnight and not goodbye”.  People from around the world joined the fight against time to help the children live longer lives.  Eventually the Nassau Chapter was born and the Cooley’s Anemia Foundation was established to continue the fight for a better life.  Now, the Foundation is focusing on finding better treatments and cures for it’s patients.  Today, patients are living into their 60’s and 70’s.  Unfortunately, the Giordano’s first child, Vivian lived to be 43, leaving behind her husband and their young child.

When Jimmy was up against extensive challenges, he turned to his faith.  He had been dedicated to his faith since childhood.  He relied on his belief in Christ to give him the answers when no one else had them.  He was a loyal and dedicated Christian. He went to mass every Sunday. He established a strong rapport with the priests and clergy of the church.  He taught his children to believe in the Holy Spirit and the miracles that God gives us.  He developed a spiritual relationship with God that was visible in the way he spoke about the Lord and the gifts he had received.  Jimmy was able to see past the challenges and find the solution.  He was also able to accept when things didn’t go the way he planned. Over his lifetime, he generously supported his church community through donations, devoting his time to running fundraisers and teaching religious education.  Every week he gave an hour of his time for adoration hour. He became an Eucharistic Minister and visited with the sick and offered them the Holy Eucharist.  

Jimmy was also very generous with his earnings.  He often donated to many Catholic charitable organizations and gave to the poor. He gave without expecting anything in return.  He did it out of the goodness of his heart.  Some of his greatest offerings were to the priests who came from third world countries. He graciously supported their missions to help their communities back home by supporting their ideas to build schools and improve their communities.  

James Giordano was a highly respectable humanitarian.  He mastered every aspect of being a humanitarian by:

  • Being dedicated to causes
  • Giving back to society
  • Easing suffering and removing hardship
  • Having compassion 
  • Helping others.

     

His actions exemplify the definition of the word humanitarian as someone who improves people’s lives and reduces suffering.  Jimmy Giordano loved his family and friends.  He was often described as someone who would give you the shirt off his back.  He had done that literally and figuratively.  He cared deeply for all human life and lived his life trying his best to make other people’s lives better.  This world is a better place because he was in it. For all the reasons mentioned above, we want to honor his legacy through this foundation.

Please consider making a donation to the James and Gina Foundation.  The monies will go to helping people just like Jimmy and Gina were given help to aid in their own cause.  Their unyielding dedication to supporting the Cooley’s Anemia Foundation has led to helping the children grow into mature, productive individuals who contribute to society today.  Many medical advancements have been created and developed since the early 1960’s. Today, practices in Genetic Engineering and Stem Cell Therapy have made a breakthrough in how the younger patients can be cured.  Research is still desperately needed to find a viable cure that safely works for the entire Thalassemia community, young and old alike.  What’s even better is that once a safe and viable cure is available to Thalassemia patients around the world, doors will open to benefit advancements in medical research for many other genetic disorders, such as Cystic Fibrosis, Aplastic Anemia, Sickle Cell Anemia, and Hemophilia. Thank you for supporting our Foundation.

Gina Giordano

Gina Giordano was born in Sicily, Italy in 1934 and immigrated to the United States when she was a teenager.  She was a beautiful, driven, meticulous, and well educated young woman who was always at the top of her class, achieving the highest honors.  She was strong, determined and steadfast in her ways; never giving up on her beliefs.  As a young child, she had rheumatic fever and years later, faced the consequences of it.  It had scarred her mitral valve and in her early forties, she needed her first of three open heart surgeries. She didn’t let her health get in the way of her mothering.  She always put her children’s needs before her own, especially her eldest child, Vivian who was born with a severe genetic blood disorder that doctors hardly knew how to treat.  They knew it was rare and that her body couldn’t make healthy red blood cells. Without proper care, doctors expected her to have a shortened life.

Gina fiercely searched for answers to save her three month old newly diagnosed infant’s life. Her diligence led her to find a small support network of other parents who were facing the same challenge.  They met at the back of a family butcher shop during off hours in Brooklyn, NY.  They joined together to organize fundraisers, spread awareness, and raise money for medication and treatment.  Additionally they ran blood drives, and facilitated forums where doctors could collaborate and speak to other families living with the same challenges.  Altogether, they formed the Brooklyn Chapter to bring hope and solidarity to help the children. Later, when the Giordano’s moved to Long Island, they facilitated the beginning of the Nassau Chapter and later the Cooley’s Anemia Foundation was created to unite people nationally and eventually internationally. 

In addition to being a homemaker, Gina supported her husband’s aspirations.  While he was starting his own business, she had a babysitting job during the day while she cared for her own children, and at night, she was the bookkeeper for her husband’s business.  She was 100% a team player and Jimmy trusted and appreciated all of her effort.  She was his rock.  He was able to work hard and build his business with the confidence knowing that she was taking care of the family and their home.  

Life wasn’t always as expected.  Vivian faced many complications from Cooley’s anemia.  Her health was always compromised by the damage done from the blood transfusions.  Her young body was thriving from the transfusions and declining from the iron overload she was getting with each transfusion. The iron from the blood was being consumed in her heart, liver and other major organs.  

Doctors never expected her to survive the damage done to her body. At a young age, they gave the Giordano’s dreadful timelines for the longevity of her life. Examples they heard were, “You won’t see your daughter take her first steps” or “She won’t make her second birthday”, and “She won’t be alive to start first grade”.  But Vivian kept outliving their expectations. She was a fighter like her mom.  She never gave up, and she had such a beautiful way of living life.  She had a pure love for it and she exuded happiness and gratitude in all things.  She had a beautiful smile and a huge personality.  She caught the eye and the hearts of many when she entertained them with her precious song and dance.  When people saw Vivian, they did not see her sickness.  They saw her vibrant, beautiful, outgoing, smart, bubbly and skillful personality.  Everyone fell in love with her, and when they learned of her blood disorder, they wanted to be a part of the movement to find treatment for Vivian and others suffering with Cooley’s anemia. 

It seemed that Vivian inherited Gina’s determination and fortitude to overcome all her difficulties.  Gina was resilient and courageous and a source of immense strength to everyone who knew her.  She was chic, confident, and never showed weakness.  Gina was the ultimate optimist.  If there was a 1 percent chance of something good happening, she held onto that one percent without ever losing hope.  SHE gave the doctors hope that one day medical advancements would change the way we treat Cooley’s anemia.  She held out for those miracles that her husband prayed for.  And the greatest miracle was that their daughter survived to the age of 43 years old. 

We honor Gina Giordano as a legacy of the James and Gina Giordano Foundation because she was a pillar of hope, resilience, strength, determination and gratitude each day of her life.  She exemplified the kind of spirit needed to overcome life’s challenges.  Those who knew her saw her grace even during the dark times.  She inspired many to rise above the triumph and make a difference in people’s lives.

The Legacy

James and Gina Giordano were both selfless people and cared about their family and others.  Together, James and Gina had a dream and desire to continue to help others in need even after their passings.   James and Gina Giordano were eternally grateful for the help they received for their family when they were in need. A simple thank you was never enough.  Actions to pay it forward were how they showed their gratitude.  

Please consider making a donation to the James and Gina Foundation.  The monies will go to helping people just like Jimmy and Gina were given help to aid in their own cause.  Their unyielding dedication to supporting the Cooley’s Anemia Foundation has led to helping the children grow into mature, productive individuals who contribute to society today.  Many medical advancements have been created and developed since the early 1960’s. Today, practices in Genetic Engineering and Stem Cell Therapy have made a breakthrough in how the younger patients can be cured.  Research is still desperately needed to find a viable cure that safely works for the entire Thalassemia community, young and old alike.  What’s even better is that once a safe and viable cure is available to Thalassemia patients around the world, doors will open to benefit advancements in medical research for many other genetic disorders, such as Cystic Fibrosis, Aplastic Anemia, Sickle Cell Anemia, and Hemophilia. Thank you for supporting our Foundation.

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