by MICHELE TREMBLAY | photo by Spark Photography

Lemonade from the Heart

Lorenzo “Enzo” Rissolo was just nine months old when he was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma, a type of childhood cancer. He spent seven months in the hospital before losing his battle to the disease, and it is a time his parents, Zoë and Dominique, courageously recall with nostalgia. “Rather than recount the physical pain and anxiety that he endured, we reflect upon the ways in which he blossomed during his seven months in the hospital,” described Zoë. “With good cheer, he would push through the severe discomfort and nausea, and remind us that he just wanted to play. In the end, it was almost as if he tried to compress an entire childhood into seven short months.”
Despite having to endure extreme heartache in her own child’s situation, Zoë drew strength and inspiration from another child’s story. “Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation was started by Alexandra ‘Alex’ Scott in 2000, when she was four years old,” explained Zoë. “She decided she wanted to hold a lemonade stand to be able to give the money to the doctors to help other kids.”

 

family_rissolo_main4The Foundation helps to raise money and awareness of childhood cancer causes – mainly the research into finding a cure – and to help children currently in treatment.

With the undeniable connection between Enzo and Alex Scott – who both passed away from neuroblastoma in 2004 – Zoë and Dominique (with the help of Dominique’s sisters) decided to create their own Lemonade Stand in an effort to honor Enzo’s memory.

This May will mark the 11th year for the Rissolo Family Grandstand for Enzo. “We hold the fundraiser in Balboa Park because it is such a lovely place and we are able to connect with people from all over San Diego and beyond,” said Zoë. “We love the opportunity to raise money for such an incredibly worthy cause.”

Today, Zoë and Dominique hold Enzo close to their heart while raising their eight-year-old son, Dario, and their six-year-old son, Emilio. “Dario is an avid reader and was just recognized at center court during a San Diego State Aztec Basketball Game for having read 2,625 minutes during a 2 ½ week period,” shared Zoë. “Emilio is poised to be an inventor! His mind is always trying to find a solution or an invention to bring to any situation.”

In 2014 the entire Rissolo family was flown to Philadelphia to be honored for their work with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. “We were honored as a Stand Family of the Year for all of our efforts. It was a lovely, emotional evening and we are very proud to have been the recipients of this honor,” recalled Zoë. “Despite the pain and difficulty, we believe it is so important to share the story of Lorenzo and our family.”

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The Rissolo Family Grandstand for Enzo event will take place on May 16 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Balboa Park.


Parents: Zoë Abrahams, Dominique Rissolo
Children: Dario Rissolo (8, third grade at Jerabek Elementary School),
Emilio “Mio” Rissolo (6, first grade at Jerabek Elementary School)
Community: Scripps Ranch since 2008
Parents’ Hometowns: Zoë – San Diego; Dominique – Atlanta
Parents’ Occupations: Zoë – librarian; Dominique – archaeologist
Favorite Local Spots: Scripps-Miramar Library, Miramar Lake, Pond at Scripps-Miramar Library, Lakeview Park, Hoyt Park, Jamba Juice, Rita’s Italian Ice

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