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Local Boy Raises $13K+ for Young Neighbor with Cancer

A Parsippany/Boonton kid shaved his head—and inspired others to join in—for a good cause.

An 8-year-old township boy took it all off to help a friend.

Matthew Santana, wanting to help Peyton Zitelli, a 19-month-old neighbor battling a rare pediatric cancer, shaved his head in a fundraising effort to help her family defray medical expenses. In the end, his generous action raised more than $13,000 for the effort.

The Santanas and Zitellis live in the Boonton mailing address area of Parsippany.

The event took place last Saturday at the Blackthorn Irish Restaurant and Pub.

Young Matthew gamely allowed his head to be shaven, and about seven others—children and adults— shaved theirs as well.

The boy came up with the idea after hearing that the Zitelli child wa diagnosed with alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare cancer that forms in muscle tissue and that chemotherapy treatments would cause her to lose her hair.

If you still wish to donate to the cause, you can send checks written to cash to Ray Santana, Matthew Santana, or Michelle and Matt Zitelli and sent to 21 Wildwood Trail, Boonton, NJ 07005.

Carol M. February 12, 2013 at 01:15 PM
God bless Peyton, Matthew and both their families; what a wonderfully moving story. I am awe struck to see one so young leading by example, and with such amazing donation results! Thank you Matthew, you have reminded us of what's truly important in life and inspired us with your message of the great things we can accomplish when we work together for the good of others.

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