About Emil "Moe" Renzullo, Jr.

Emil “Moe” Renzullo Jr. a name that is synonymous with a strong love for life, compassion for others, and a universal acceptance of people regardless of how similar or different. There aren’t enough words to perfectly describe the type of person this little boy was, and the major effects he had on people’s lives in such a short time.

Moe was born on February 27th, 1998 and shortly thereafter was diagnosed with Hirschprung’s Disease and Down Syndrome. Throughout his life he had more surgeries than he had birthdays, his first surgery being at only 3 days old at the UCONN Health Center. Moe was born with some serious gastrointestinal issues, which resulted in an ileostomy when he was a newborn and again when he 7 years old.

The first 7 years of Moe’s life were spent in and out of the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. His stays could last anywhere from a couple of days to a few weeks. Moe never quite knew what it was like to feel good because being sick was his norm. However his ileostomy surgery in 2007 resolved this! The first thing he did when he came from the hospital that time, was to jump out of the car, run into the garage and jump on his tricycle!

Moe attended Southwest school and developed lasting relationships with the teachers and staff there. When he returned in the fall of 2007 everyone at Southwest saw his “true” personality because he felt as good as all the other kids in his class. When the school system eliminated his summer program at Southwest they offered to pay for two weeks at a camp. It was recommended that he go to Camp LARC.

At first we were extremely apprehensive about sending him, considering he wore an ostomy bag and had been so sickly for so many years. However, our first meeting with Katherine Marchand-Beyer was a huge eye opener for us. She was not only was not fazed by his ostomy bag, but after seeing his energy and spirit she even suggested that he would benefit from TWO weeks at camp rather than the one week we were planning on. For our family it was not just a relief to see Katherine’s confidence and lack of hesitation with having our son at her camp, but it was also a Godsend.

Moe would no longer need to spend his summers with his 82-year-old grandmother; despite the fact that she was a bit feisty for her age, it was not enough for Moe. The first year Moe only spent two weeks at camp, but every year thereafter his time at camp increased. Just as he created lasting relationships with his doctors, nurses, and teachers he also created unbreakable and remarkable relationships with his counselors.

Some days Moe was probably their biggest challenge. However, his spirit and the light that were in his eyes was palpable and contagious. His sense of humor and undeniable charm with the ladies offered something back to the counselors. Camp allowed Moe to be a kid for the first time in his life. Now he could run and jump with the other kids without a care in the world.

Life can throw some amazing and often stunning curveballs. From the moment Moe was born life threw him a series of them. The biggest one came on February 26, 2010 – the day before his 12th birthday. Moe was diagnosed with Leukemia and after a brief but valiant battle, Moe passed away. On April 3, 2010, Moe went to a place where he can be the kid he always dreamed of being, with no more sickness, no more over-protective mom, no more doctors and no more limitations.

The Miles for Moe Foundation was established to honor the spirit and memory of Emil “Moe” Renzullo Jr. - a boy whose presence here on earth for just twelve short years affected and touched more people than most people do in a lifetime. The Foundation seeks to continue his legacy by supporting organizations such as Camp MOE that encourage inclusive activities for children with special needs to families who could not otherwise afford to send their children to summer camp. The Foundation also strives to benefit families who have a child diagnosed with cancer and to support the hospitals and organizations that treat these children.