Capano was born with Atrial Septic Defect and Tri-Cuspid Malformation of the heart; in other words: he was born with a hole in his heart. Doctors said he wouldn't live past age 10. He was also born with glaucoma and became legally blind in his early 20s. Capano's wife, Deidre Capano, is also blind.Now 42, Capano has had 12 pacemakers and four open-heart surgeries. Because the heavy trauma on his body has left a great deal of scar tissue, doctors at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital put him in the extremely high-risk category. His next open heart surgery will be a transplant. Or else he won't survive.Through Megan Guerriero, a 2004 St. John's grad who worked in the athletic department and befriended several of the St. John's soccer players, Capano became a St. John's soccer fan. And now the team is giving back to Capano.The entire St. John's soccer team, even former Red Storm star Chris Corcoran, who is a rookie with the MetroStars, will volunteer at the Stephen Capano Supplemental Needs Trust Fund Benefit at St. William the Abbott School in Seaford, L.I. Friday night.The team decided to volunteer after learning more about Capano's situation from Groenwald, who is serving on the committee's board."The best part about working on this the last three months has been getting to know Stephen and his wife," Groenwald said. "They're the first people to help others before themselves."As the St. John's soccer team was preparing to make another deep run into the NCAA tournament, Capano was sick in a Columbia Presbyterian hospital room. But he made sure he was kept aware of how the Red Storm was doing through Guerriero."He was sick for weeks, but when I would call him at halftime, he would never talk about himself," Guerriero said. "All he would say was, 'Did Matty score a goal for me? How's Chris (Corcoran's) foot? What's Andre (Schmid) up to? He was there in spirit."Friends and family of the Capanos' are holding the benefit, which will run from 7:30 p.m. to midnight and is $20 for adults and $5 for children under 12, to help cover related medical costs for Capano's impending heart transplant and other expenses for his wife. The steep medical costs are not covered by insurance, making the challenge for the Capanos' even greater."I've learned how lucky and blessed I am," Groenwald said of the event, which is also on the first day of Organ Donation Awareness month. "It's amazing to see how much strength they have, but at the same time, it shows you that you can't go through life on your own."Guerriero said the response has been remarkable. Fliers are posted throughout Seaford, where Stephen Capano grew up, and Rockville Centre, where the Capanos currently live, and Guerriero's cell phone has been ringing constantly with people looking to help."I'm getting calls from strangers, from people who don't even know my family," Guerriero said. "They just want to help."So far, 250 people have RSVP'd and Guerriero is hoping for another 250 to attend the event, which will consist of a live band, a special show tunes band and a stand-up comedian. There will also be raffles ranging from cosmetic bags to themed gift bags to a pair of Yankees/Red Sox tickets to big-ticket electronic items. For those interested in attending or for further information, please call Guerriero at 516-680-2938. For those who can't attend, but still would like to send a donation, checks can be made payable to: Stephen Capano SNT, c/o Megan Guerriero, 1034 Gold St., Seaford, NY 11783.Reach Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.
©2005 Community News Group
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