As word spread on Facebook about the death of 10-year-old “Jedi” Gino Altieri of Stow on Sunday, a leave-the-porch-light-on vigil has sprung up.
Gino — who loved Star Wars second only to his family, parents Gina and Dominic and 4-year-old sister Adelina — battled aggressive alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer that mainly affects the muscles of the trunk, arms and legs, for nearly two years.
The “Porch Light Vigil for Gino” was launched by Fishcreek Elementary PTA President Jen Taylor in earnest and was quickly embraced by folks all across the country. It is suggested to end Thursday, the day Jedi Gino is laid to rest.
Taylor’s initial message read: “As way to remember Gino and how he inspired so many, and to show support for his family ... Please turn your porch light on. Let’s show his family how moved we were by the inspirational life he lived.”
Messages and pledges to honor the porch light mission have come from both near and far. Even a family in England.
“Lights will be on here in Akron for you, G-Man! We all loved you and are so glad you are out of pain from your earthy body and are in Christ’s spirit with him holding you tight,” an Akron woman wrote.
Others read as follows:
“Our light is on in New York.”
“My light is on in Pittsburgh, Pa.”
“Our porch light is on in Hartsville, S.C. God Bless.”
“Our lights are on in Tallmadge.”
“Our lights are on in Roanoke, a very sad day.”
“Our light is on in Midland, Texas … Heaven gained a sweet, wonderful little boy.”
“Porch light on in Coal City, Ill.”
“Lights are on in Delaware, Ohio.”
“My light is on in Palmyra, Ohio. God bless this family.”
“My porch light will be shining bright in Santa Monica, Calif.”
“Many lights are on here in Springfield, Mo.”
“I cannot even imagine your loss. I believe that Gino will always be watching over you and comforting you through all the days to come. My light is on in Peterborough, N.H.”
And this one: “Heaven is for real!” Hinckley, Ohio.
Calling hours for Gino are 3 to 9 p.m. today at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 340 N. Main St., Hudson. The funeral Mass will be 10:30 a.m. Thursday, also at the church.