Giovanni Thomas “Gio” Maggiore, 6, died from a congenital heart defect.
By STEVE FREKER
MEDFORD — Everyone loved Gio and that love for a 6-year-old who died earlier this month has pushed the boy’s name onto a list of 10 finalists in a national contest to name April the giraffe’s baby.
April’s pregnancy and online April 15 delivery in upstate New York went viral and occurred five days after Giovanni Thomas “Gio” Maggiore, a Brooks School first-grader, died from a congenital heart defect.
When his mother, Maya Maggiore, who is a teacher at the Columbus Elementary School in South Medford heard of the contest to name the baby giraffe, she decided to enter her son’s name.
There is still time to vote for “Gio” in the national contest. Go to the website www.aprilthegiraffe.com.
Maggiore said Gio remained brave and positive in the face of his illness. He also loved giraffes, dressing as one for Halloween. His favorite toddler pacifier had a cartoon giraffe on it.
“He loved to take the opportunity to tell people about his special heart,” she said.
Gio was the son of Christopher and Maya (Graffeo) Maggiore and the brother of Carmen Maggiore, all of Medford. He was the grandson of Anthony and Bernadette Graffeo as well as Stephen and Karen Lavin, all of Medford. He survived by his great-grandparents and many loving aunts, uncles and cousins.
The Maggiore family worked closely with the organization, “It’s My Heart New England,” participating in fundraisers and charity walks. That involvement made entering Gio’s name in the contest to name April a quick and easy decision for the family to make.
Gio’s family created “Team Giovanni” to honor and remember him.
“Instead of focusing on all the negatives surrounding Gio’s condition, we just tried to make his life as positive as possible,” Maya Maggiore said.
His friends and family created the hashtag: #gioisawesome to show how they felt about Gio. All of Medford was pleased when Gio made a Make-A-Wish trip to Walt Disney World in Florida in 2015. Boston news stations even covered the event.