BY ANGELA MATUA
Valentina Marie Allen touched the lives of her Howard Beach community, and the town has started a #paintthetownred campaign in the 2-year-old’s memory.
Allen suffered from hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a heart defect that leaves the left ventricle severely underdeveloped; heterotaxy, a defect where organs are misplaced in the body; and asplenia, the absence of the spleen.
Just 2 years and 2 months old, Valentina died on Tuesday, May 12, her family announced on Facebook.
“She passed away very peacefully in our arms,” according to the post. “She put up a battle every single day, and she touched more lives and inspired more people than she will ever know. All of the prayers helped her to persevere this long, and now she will be a beautiful baby among the angels in heaven, forever watching over us all.”
According to Howard Beach resident Graziella Zerilli, the community has started to place red bows on trees and poles in Howard Beach and also place red heart balloons on their property to support the family. Restaurants Russo’s on the Bay and Vetro have placed red lights on their property in her memory.
“The entire community has come together to remember this beautiful little girl and support her family in this terrible time,” Zerilli said.
Gold’s Gym on Cross Bay Boulevard is selling items like bows and key chains and all proceeds will go to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) where Allen was treated for two years.
The community has raised $28,935 for CHOP in three days. The money will be used to name an area of the hospital after Valentina.
To donate to this cause, click here.