LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – As raindrops fell outside, love and support flooded the inside of the Elizabethtown High School stadium.
“Tonight’s all about Tony,” Tom Cross, a member of the Ghost Riders football team, said.
Tony Forte like any young child, loves to play video games, hang out in his backyard, and have nerf gun wars with his brother. However, unlike many children, Tony Forte needs a multi-organ transplant.
Even at a young age he is very charming and will have you laughing and smiling in seconds. But if you walk a mile in his shoes, you might have a tough time. “He hasn’t been able to do the things that I’ve luckily been able to do when I was little.” said Jarvis Cummings, quarterback.
That’s because Tony was diagnosed with total colonic Hirschsprung’s disease when he was six days old. He can’t eat or go to the bathroom like most children can.
“It’s a reality check. Watching him the other day, he has to wear that backpack all the time – that just limits some of the things he does” Jarvis Cummings, quarterback.
This backpack can weigh up to ten pounds, feeding him sodium, potassium, and other nutrients through a port in his chest. But Tony wouldn’t call it extra baggage. “I have a lot to be thankful for.” said Tony Forte.
The Central Pennsylvania Ghost Riders are a semi-pro team in Lancaster County. Tonight was their first home game where they are giving all of the proceeds to Tony and his family.
“It’s a privilege we can keep playing sports, and sometimes you get knicked up and you don’t really appreciate it. And you see a young man like Tony who’s never had that opportunity.” Tom Cross, Ghost Riders Football Team.
Which is why they’re playing for more than just a win. Tony needs a multi-organ transplant which includes a stomach, small and large intestines, liver, and pancreas.
“As a parent you’re waiting for that day when a doctor or a nurse will tell you something different, you know, something that’s hopeful.” Monica Forte, Tony’s mother said.
For this football team, winning won’t come from scoring touchdowns. “We’re a family, they’re a family, today I guess we’re going to be a family together.” said Tom Cross.
“There’s no amount of gratitude that I could ever say thank you for that’s going to be able to repay that back to the community.” Monica Forte said.
Unfortunately, the game was called in the third quarter due to lightning when the Big Red’s were up 14-6. They plan on hosting another fundraiser on July 11th..
For more information on the Antonio Forte Transplant Fund, visit www.aftft.com.