ShareThis Page

Youth baseball teams rally for 8-year-old Hempfield heart patient

| Sunday, July 16, 2017, 11:00 p.m.
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribune-Review
Eight-year-old Nico Salvio, who has already gone three major heart surgeries and is need of a heart transplant, at Red Devils Park where the Southwest Greensburg Recreation Department will be hosting a baseball tournament to raise funds for his medical bills at in South Greensburg, Pa. on Friday July 14, 2017.
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribune-Review
Eight-year-old Nico Salvio, who has already gone three major heart surgeries and is need of a heart transplant, at Red Devils Park where the Southwest Greensburg Recreation Department will be hosting a baseball tournament to raise funds for his medical bills at in South Greensburg, Pa. on Friday July 14, 2017.
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribune-Review
Eight-year-old Nico Salvio, who has already gone three major heart surgeries and is need of a heart transplant, at Red Devils Park where the Southwest Greensburg Recreation Department will be hosting a baseball tournament to raise funds for his medical bills at in South Greensburg, Pa. on Friday July 14, 2017.

Stacey Salvio is a nurse, so she knew right away there was a problem with her unborn son's sonogram.

“I said to Gino (her husband), ‘there's something wrong with his heart,' ” she said.

That was eight years ago. Her son, Nico Salvio, has been living with congenital heart disease his whole life. He had two open-heart surgeries when he was a baby and is on the waiting list for a heart transplant.

That doesn't stop him from playing baseball.

Nico plays with the Southwest Greensburg recreation program, and on Friday, he will throw out the first pitch at a kid's baseball tournament for his benefit.

“Every single penny that goes in goes to Nico's family,” said Southwest Greensburg Recreation Director Dan Ranieri.

Six teams entered the tournament, each paying a $300 entry fee. There will also be raffles, T-shirts for sale and concessions, with all proceeds going to the Salvios.

“This community, they've done so many things,” Gino Salvio said.

Nico's medical expenses are already high, thanks to pricey medication and constant visits to the hospital for various tests. They will only go up once he gets a transplant. One of the medications he'll need once he has a new heart will cost $4,000 a month, according to his mom.

He could be waiting for a while. Child heart donors are rare. And when he does get a heart, it will probably only last him a maximum of 10 years.

His family started Nico's Warriors — an organization that raises money for Nico's medical bills — last year. They've held fundraisers in the past, but Southwest Greensburg wanted to go further, Ranieri said.

“This year, we wanted to amp it up a little bit, make it a little bit bigger,” he said.

Ranieri has coached Nico since the start of this season. Because of his condition, Nico can't play the field or run the bases, but he can bat, and he loves it.

“He loves sports. He can't wait to be able to run,” Stacey Salvio said.

Nico often misses out on playing with other kids, at recess or on sports teams, so the chance to play baseball means a lot to him, Gino Salvio said.

“For him just to be on the field is huge,” he said.

Nico said he loves the game, especially when his friends are there. “I like coming to play, especially when I'm against my cousin Noah,” he said.

Gino Salvio said he wanted to thank the community for helping his son.

“Once you get to know Nico, everybody knows he's such a special kid,” he said.

The tournament starts Friday at 6 p.m. at Red Devils Park in South Greensburg and will continue through Sunday. It might be extended into Monday, if needed. In addition to the tournament games there will also be a home run derby, timed base run and skill throwing competitions.

Jacob Tierney is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6646 or jtierney@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.