At Sardella’s, for as much as we talk about all the great food on our menus, we remember that without our customers, we’ve got nothing. We’re part of the community, and the community is part of Sardella’s. Accordingly, Michael Alaniz is a cherished member of our community we’ve gotten to know, and we think you should, too.
In June 2003, Michael was born prematurely at 33 weeks with congenital heart disease, hypoplastic right heart syndrome and pulmonary atresia with intact ventricular septum. At two days old, he underwent his first open heart surgery, the first of many operations soon to follow.
After an arduous road of recovery in his earliest years, Michael was finally able to withstand his fifth operation in 2008 to complete his heart repair. Despite his incredible hardships throughout childhood, he was able to stay strong, facing the pain head-on, all while remaining positive – a true miracle.
A few years back, we got this email from the Alaniz family:
We introduced the Sardella’s restaurant on 43rd and Cactus to Mike when he was little and the great food has been a favorite for him ever since. And luckily for him, his school – Desert Heights Charter in Glendale, also serves Sardella’s pizza once a week.
He recently had another surgery and will be recovering indoors during the summer and outdoor activities are not allowed for him right now. So we are looking for small ways to lift his spirits. We are hoping Sardella’s can send him a get well message or a gift. It would make him very happy.
It’s not every day that we get messages like this one. And while it would have been perfectly fine to send Michael a “get well soon” card, it just didn’t feel like that was enough. We decided that this was one of those times where only a “special delivery” would do.
If you’ve never had a child in the hospital for more than a day or so at a time, it’s something that can stress even the strongest of family bonds. Even the simplest things can fall by the wayside.
So, Sardella’s brought the Alaniz family some dinner and made their introductions. We’ve kept in touch over the last four years and, courtesy of a recent email, we’re happy to report that Michael is doing well.
“We haven’t been in touch in a while, but I wanted to let you know Mr. Michael Alaniz (now a teenager!) is doing very well. Mike is finishing 8th grade at Parkview Elementary soon and was recently accepted at Bourgade Catholic for high school in the fall! He’s doing really well health-wise. No problems. We remember and thank you and your family for always looking out for him after his pacemaker surgery in 2013.”
Michael will turn 14 in June and has accomplished many unexpected things in his short life, such as playing baseball since he was six and participating in a summer camp with other children with heart issues. Michael’s heart disease never stopped him from helping others find their purpose in life.
Today, Michael and his family are currently trying to raise funds for him to participate in the Survivorship Program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). This program will help assess how his heart and liver are functioning to help ensure a safe future.
Sardella’s has happily contributed through his youcaring.com page. It’s a good cause, for a good kid, and we at Sardella’s salute him and his family!