In December of 2005, 20-month-old Giulia Migani was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. The doctors at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital in Connecticut immediately implanted a central line into the toddler’s side to deliver blood, medicine and chemotherapy drugs to help her combat the disease.
Two weeks into chemotherapy, Giulia suffered a seizure caused by swelling in her brain. In addition to Leukemia, Giulia now had a tumor attached to her brain stem, which could not be removed. As a result, doctors installed an internal shunt to permanently relieve the pressure in her brain. After several weeks in intensive care, Giulia was able to return to the high-risk cancer ward to continue her battle.
After five months at Yale, doctors transferred Giulia to Boston Children’s Hospital. Giulia needed a bone marrow transplant and her 6-year-old sister Isabella bravely became Giulia’s donor. The bone marrow transplant required Giulia to spend two more months in Boston in a strict, sterile environment. Then, after five rounds of chemo, sixteen rounds of radiation, three brain operations, three general surgeries and dozens of cat scans, MRI’s, x-rays, medications, transfusions, lumbar punctures and spinal taps, Giulia was finally ready to go home.
When Giulia was ready to come home due to the side effects of Giulia’s treatment, she had to be quarantined in her home for an entire year. Only the immediate Migani family was allowed in the house. The entire house was kept as sterile as possible. The 1924 home had no central air-conditioning system. During mild Connecticut summers, the Migani family used to rely on one window unit and open windows to keep their house comfortable. Giulia’s health restrictions meant that no windows could be open in the entire house. The dust and allergens from the
outside could be detrimental to her health. Reno Migani, Giulia’s father, is an architect and was familiar with small duct, high velocity air conditioning systems. He contacted contractor Matt Arendholz at Marlin Mechanical who suggested the Unico System because there would be minimal intrusion to the house. Disrupting the house as little as possible was imperative in order to not stir up dust and other allergens.
Upon hearing about Giulia, Arendholz decided that this family needed a superior system to aid in the little girl’s road to recovery. In response to the family’s needs, Unico donated two Unico Systems, one for the first floor and one for the second floor of the Migani home. The donation included all the equipment with ductwork, condensers and an ultra violet light filtration system.
The air conditioned and filtered air was a blessing for the family. In addition to the Miganis’ running the system during the summer, they kept the air-blower on during the winter to filter the air. During Giulia’s entire quarantine period, she only went to the hospital once for a respiratory infection. Most post-transplant patients are in and out of the hospital multiple times during the quarantine period.
Giulia has now been out of quarantine for a year and started preschool and loves being able to interact with other children. The family strives to meet Giulia’s five-year survival mark, when her odds of long-term survival greatly increase. She just completed her yearly check-ups and is doing wonderfully. Today Giulia looks and acts like any normal little girl, with her hair in pigtails and a big grin on her face.