Friday promises another ray of hope for the family of a 9-year-old Fair Lawn boy critically injured in a tragic accident last month.
Aiden D'Angelo "is opening his eyes and moving his limbs," his father said Thursday.
The news is heartening to many.
There are Aiden's parents, Joe and Jessica, as well as his brother, Luca. There are the neighbors who called 911 and rushed into the street after Aiden was struck by a Honda CR-V on 17th Street near Morlot Avenue on May 26.
There's the local police officer who held Aiden's head in his hands, the EMS workers who took him to St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center in Paterson -- and the SUV driver herself, 58, also of Fair Lawn, who police said was part of a tragic accident.
There are countless friends, loved ones, classmates, teachers -- even strangers, as well.
All have clutched hope, seeking promising signs, since that horrific day two weeks ago.
A quick-witted, playful boy, Aiden also has a "sweet, sensitive side," Christina Beringhelli Stec said.
When a friend accidentally dropped a toy by the D'Angelo home, Aiden grabbed it to return to his buddy, she wrote for a GoFundMe campaign.
"Thinking only of his friend, he ran across the street and was pummeled by [the] SUV," Stec added.
Aiden suffered brain bleeding and swelling, as well as a broken pelvis, among other severe injuries. He was intubated and placed into a medical coma.
Doctors last week said the swelling in his brain had receded and they weren't seeing any new blood there.
Good news, indeed.
They gradually lessened the sedation, and when Aiden opened his eyes for the first time, Joe and Jessica were right there.
"They grabbed onto his hand," Stec wrote. "Aiden made sure to give them a little squeeze."
Aiden is "making steady progress" in the pediatric intensive care unit at St. Joe's, his dad said Thursday.
A scheduled procedure on Friday aims to "put him on track to rehab, hopefully by next week," said D'Angelo, who created his own business, "The Sauce Guy," after losing his executive chef's job last year to the COVID pandemic.
"It's a marathon, not a sprint, unfortunately," D'Angelo said. "Every day we take small steps toward the long run."
The D'Angelos are givers, contributing to local charities and schools, well as to food banks to help the homeless and working poor, wrote Stec, who launched a fundraiser to help them navigate what threatens to be a long, trying journey.
"Jess and Joe provided so much good in the community," Stec wrote. "Now it's time for us to take care and give back to them."
GO TO: Aiden's Journey to Recovery
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.