Dominic and Lisa Cardillo, of Macomb Township, led efforts this year to support five families for Christmas. Gifts were purchased by over 50 families, which Lisa said is more than any of the past five years.

Dominic and Lisa Cardillo, of Macomb Township, led efforts this year to support five families for Christmas. Gifts were purchased by over 50 families, which Lisa said is more than any of the past five years.

Photo provided by Lisa Cardillo


Pandemic doesn’t halt plans for Christmas giving

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published December 23, 2020

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — It’s become a Christmas tradition.

For the last four Christmas seasons, this being the fifth, a local family has given back to other families facing medical challenges.

That won’t stop in 2020 because of a pandemic.

The Cardillo family of Macomb Township once again is on the giving end of what they call the 25 Days of Christmas, where, for each day in December, a family opens one gift leading up to Christmas Day.

Pandemic and all, the family supported five families this year by way of Christmas gifts.

“It looked a lot different, but response and generosity from family and friends was overwhelming,” Lisa Cardillo said.

She added that originally, due to the pandemic, they planned on taking the year off.

“I usually start planning around Labor Day, but it was mid-October when I heard of a family we know that could use this surprise,” Lisa said. “I couldn’t not do it knowing how much joy it would bring to the family.”

This year, the Cardillo’s gave 25 gifts to a Clinton Township family, sent an early Christmas to a couple in New York, made a gift card tree for another Clinton Township family dealing with Glioblastoma, and we’re able to surprise two other survivors with a gift of money.

All of the family’s have someone who is a brain cancer survivor.

Lisa’s husband, Dominic Cardillo, was diagnosed with a brain tumor in May 2014. Lisa had a sudden heart attack in March 2017, going into cardiac arrest. At the time of Dominic’s diagnosis, the couple had three children under the age of 7.

Dominic had a craniotomy — the surgical removal of part of the bone from the skull to expose the brain — and went through chemotherapy and radiation.

The cause of Lisa’s heart attack was a tear in the lining of an artery that supplies the heart, known as SCAD.

“We had planned on just doing 25 Days of Christmas for one family, but because of the amount of people that participated, we had an excess of donations, which is a really good problem to have.” Lisa said.

After they were on the receiving end of the gift giving in 2014, the Cardillo’s have picked a couple families a year who are impacted by brain cancer.

For the New York family, Lisa said the wife is in her Facebook caregiver support group.

Gifts were purchased by over 50 families, including three recipients of past 25 Days of Christmas, and sent to the Cardillo home, where the Cardillo’s then delivered them to each family.

“More people from the community this year volunteered to buy gifts and send donations more than any other year, which really surprised me because people are in difficult places financially,” Lisa said. “It seemed like more than ever, people needed that sense of community to spread kindness, even though it was virtually.”

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