Generosity in the Hudson Valley gets 6-year-old closer to emotional support dog

Many in the Hudson Valley banded together recently to raise thousands to help get a 6-year-old cancer survivor get an emotional support dog.
Luca Marrero endured serious health issues throughout his life. His mother, Marlana Marrero, knew during pregnancy that he would have Down syndrome. However, on the day of his birth, they made another frightening discovery.
“What surprised us at birth was…[doctors] saw blasts in his blood, which meant he had leukemia,” she said.
Marrero went into remission at three months, only to be diagnosed with a different kind of cancer at 10 months old.
Although the 6-year-old is now cancer free, he is still working through issues like PTSD.
"Anytime we go to a building, he thinks it's a hospital. So, the tears start coming, he tries to run out of the car, tries to get away. It takes 3 or 4 of us to hold him during doctor appointments because he thinks he's going to get his blood drawn,” said his mother.
When Marrero came across a child with an emotional support dog, she realized it may be an option to help her son. She reached out to an organization who told her he was a perfect candidate for an emotional support dog. However, it would cost $50,000 and the family must come up with $25,000 on their own.
In the hopes of finding ideas to raise money, she made a Facebook post asking for help. The response shocked her.
"It was amazing, right away a friend Jessica who owns Pizazzles in the Jefferson Valley mall reached out and said, ‘let’s host a fundraising event here.’ So, she actually hosted a fundraising event for us. While we were there, the Westchester County PBA stopped by and gave a generous donation for us and then it continued to grow,” said Marrero.
Brow Bar and Lash Lift in Yorktown also did a fundraiser. In just 6 weeks, the Marrero family has raised $20,000 all thanks to the generosity of their community.
"I’m so humbled by the response from the community and the willingness to listen and share and help. I'm just blown away. Absolutely blown away,” she said.