Tony Serrato touched so many lives

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - Tony Serrato has died.  He was 32. Serrato's name is familiar to long-time WLOX viewers who followed his story and struggle with a rare bone marrow disease which required extensive medical treatment.

Serrato was diagnosed as a child in the late 1980's. WLOX News reported on the Serrato family's journey to get their child the bone marrow transplant he needed to live. The community rallied around the family to help with numerous fund raisers.

Serrato even captured the attention of country music legends, The Oak Ridge Boys. The singers visited with Serrato and his family in 1988 when they appeared at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum. Serrato received a bone marrow transplant in August, 1988 when he was six-years-old.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation sent the family to Disney World in 1992, a trip his mother Pam Serrato told WLOX News would be a nice change from vacations to hospitals.

In 2003, Serrato graduated from the Harrison County Child Development Center.

Visitation for Serrato will be Thursday, December 6 from 9:30 a.m. - 11 a.m. at First United Methodist Church in Long Beach. A funeral service will follow at 11 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family would prefer donations be made in his honor to the Make-a-Wish Foundation, the Metachromatic Leukodystrophy Foundation, or to further bone marrow transplant research. The Riemann Family Funeral Home, Long Beach, is in charge of arrangements and an online guest book is available.

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