HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – A young man from Connecticut with “Butterfly Disease” was able to meet his idol on Wednesday night thanks to the help of Denise D’Ascenzo.

One of D’Ascenzo’s last stories was to share the story of a young man, Jonathan Gionfriddo, and his battle with a rare disorder known as “Butterfly Disease.”

Back in early November, D’Ascenzo brought us the story of Gionfriddo.

Despite having significant medical challenges, he’s a very positive person and his upbeat attitude really touched D’Ascenzo.

The 20-year-old has a condition called Epidermolysis Bulosa, or EB, that was first detected just hours after he was born.

His skin blisters with any kind of pressure or friction.

D’Ascenzo showed how every other day, Gionfriddo’s mother has to give him saltwater baths, which is painful, yet necessary to keep infections away. Then she has to wrap him in fresh gauze, virtually head to toe.

During their time together, Gionfriddo told D’Ascenzo that his idol is ventriloquist, Jeff Dunham.

Gionfriddo has a puppet that he uses from time to time when interacting with kids who might be intimidated by all of his bandages.

Gionfriddo mentioned that Dunham would be in Connecticut in January.

Once D’Ascenzo heard that, she decided she was going to do everything she could to try to arrange for him to see the show and even meet Dunham.

D’Ascenzo didn't get to make the arrangements herself, but Channel 3 wanted to fulfill that wish for her.

So, with the help of Dunham’s wife Audrey, his tour promoter Robin, and his tour manager Marnell, Gionfriddo was able to go to the show.

He and his family were even able to go back stage and meet Dunham.

It was the moment D’Ascenzo hoped they’d have.

Dunham talked with Gionfriddo and his family for quite a while and even took pictures.

Dunham introduced Gionfriddo to his wife and twin boys on Facetime.

Gionfriddo and his sister left with all kinds of character dolls and mementos from the show.

Gionfriddo’s mom talked to Channel 3 on Thursday morning to say she hasn’t seen her son that happy in a long time.

Copyright 2019 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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(1) comment


What a great story nice to hear a good story instead of all the sad news lately.

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