New Castle News


August 10, 2013

Photo Gallery, Story: Time Out

Nine-year-old Alex DiVitto puts muscular dystrophy battle on hold to swim with a dolphin, thanks to Make A Wish.


Alex DiVitto is a walking encyclopedia when it comes to the subject of muscular dystrophy.

“Your body is like a puzzle,” Alex said matter-of-factly. “There are 72 pieces to the puzzle.

“I am missing two of those pieces,” he added. “Numbers 42 and 43.”

Alex is not a medical doctor. He is a precocious 9-year-old who knows way too much about the debilitating disease he battles on a daily basis.

And those two missing pieces — referred to as “exons” in the medical world — have changed the lives of Alex; his mother and father, Marla and Sam; and his sister, 7-year-old Samantha.



The DiVittos saw no signs of any abnormalities in Alex for several years after he was born.

“We noticed at around age 4 that he couldn’t run or jump like other kids his age,” Marla said. “We took him to a doctor, who said he was fine, that we worried too much.”

But when Marla saw that Alex struggled to climb the steps of the bus that was to take him to preschool, and later, when he fell on a sidewalk and could not get up when on a field trip while in kindergarten, Marla pressed the issue.

“I again took him to a doctor, who agreed that something was not right,” she said. “We were referred to an orthopedic specialist at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh. We were there 15 minutes when the doctor said, ‘You are in the wrong place, you need to be in the neurology department.’

“Sam and I looked at each other and said, ‘what does that mean?’ ”

Two weeks before Christmas 2009, the DiVittos received a phone call that delivered some devastating news — Alex had Becker muscular dystrophy, a disorder characterized by slowly progressive muscle weakness of the legs and pelvis. It causes a deficiency of the protein dystrophin in the body.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • VerySpecial.jpg Jameson Hoyt Atrium display spotlights artwork of special needs kids and adults

    Artwork from dozens of area students will take center stage Thursday in the Hoyt Atrium of Jameson Hospital. The Very Special Arts exhibit will kick off with an opening reception at 5 p.m., and the works will remain on display in the glass-enclosed walkway through Oct. 4.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • DougDanko.jpg Census shows county population getting older

    Lawrence County’s population continues to get older. However, it is not alone, as Pennsylvania overall is aging.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • backpackproject.jpg Councilman picks up tab to help lunch program

    Participants of a local summer feeding program are eating this week courtesy of New Castle City Councilman Tim Fulkerson. On Friday morning, the truck dispatched from New Castle to pick up about 3,500 pounds of items from the Pittsburgh Food Bank broke down as it arrived at its destination.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • CRESTVIEW.jpg Outreach: Churches plan to host picnic for residents of Crestview Gardens

    Volunteers from several area churches are banding together in hopes of bringing peace to a troubled neighborhood.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • money.jpg Council OKs funds to remove dead trees

    New Castle City Council has approved spending funds from its contingency account to remove some trees at Darlington Park. Marshall Tree Experts of Ellwood City has given an estimate of $12,000 to remove the large elm trees from the Mahoningtown park.


    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • 12.jpg Photo Gallery, Story: Night light

    The balloons may have been on the ground but spirits were soaring.


    July 25, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • StateFair.jpg 'State Fair' coming to Playhouse

    The fair is coming to town. No, not the Lawrence County Fair, although that is right around the corner. This is the Iowa State Fair, and it will be live on the stage of the New Castle Playhouse for three weeks, starting Friday night.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • accountant.jpg DeLorenzo’s status with authority unchanged

    Deno DeLorenzo’s status as a contract employee with the New Castle Sanitation Authority remains unchanged. Authority board members met with DeLorenzo last week regarding an investigation by the Lawrence County district attorney’s office involving Shenango Township funds.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shooting.jpg Detroit area man dies in Ellwood City gunfire

    A triple shooting in an Ellwood City street has claimed the life of a Detroit area man. Gunfire erupted in the middle of Loop Street outside the Walnut Ridge housing project around 10:20 p.m. Sunday, according to state police.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Baptism1.jpg Dipped downtown

    John the Baptist identified himself as “the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’ ” On Saturday, local evangelist Randy Crum once again took a cue from the son of Elizabeth and Zechariah, eschewing the locusts and honey that John was known to munch on but heading out into the wilds to baptize believers and challenge them to share their faith with their community.

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

House Ads

Would you want to know what your pet is thinking about you?

Yes! I'd love to know what my pet is thinking.
Nah, it's probably not that interesting.
I don't know. I'm afraid of what I might find out.
     View Results