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
  • 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

  • lamancusa.jpg Tanner, district attorney: No comment

    The Lawrence County District Attorney is keeping mum about a probe into finances in Shenango Township. “We don’t talk about ongoing investigations,” Lamancusa said Friday.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo 5 Stories

  • Shenango1.jpg Shenango Township: Supervisors fire Tanner, release DeLorenzo

    The Shenango supervisors fired township secretary/treasurer Brian Tanner and terminated auditor and consultant Deno DeLorenzo last night.

    July 18, 2014 3 Photos 4 Stories

  • gavel.jpg Shenango to take action on Tanner, DeLorenzo

    Shenango’s supervisors will act Thursday night on the employment contracts of two men being investigated for possible theft of township funds.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo 4 Stories

  • money.jpg Shenango computers, financial papers seized

    Investigators have seized computers and a host of financial paperwork from the Shenango Township Municipal Building.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo 3 Stories

  • money.jpg Second warrant issued in Shenango Township finances probe

    The home office of Shenango Township’s secretary/treasurer is the subject of a search warrant. A warrant was approved allowing investigators from the Lawrence County district attorney’s office to search Brian Tanner’s home office at 658 Melody Lane Extension in Shenango and seize all computers and computer records.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

  • Our Opinion: Who’s watching the money in Shenango Township?

    The Shenango Township supervisors have some explaining to do. And that’s putting it mildly.

    July 15, 2014 1 Story

  • Shenango places Tanner on leave, schedules meeting

    The Shenango Township supervisors have placed their secretary/treasurer on leave. In a statement faxed late Monday afternoon to the New Castle News, the supervisors said Brian Tanner had been placed on “administrative leave” as the result of a search warrant served on the township municipal building Friday.

    July 15, 2014

  • DROWN.jpg Local teen drowns in Slippery Rock Creek

    Divers from several fire departments responded yesterday to a drowning in the Kennedy Mill area of Slippery Rock Creek. Reports from the scene indicated that two teenage males from the Ellwood-Wampum area had gone swimming in the creek, and that one had gone under and not resurfaced.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • festival1.jpg Break out the bubbly

    New Castle may be the Fireworks Capital of America, but Friday night bubbles filled the air.

    July 12, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 fell from the sky in Donetsk, Ukraine, on Thursday, killing all 298 people aboard. Many are speculating that Russian rebels (supported by Vladimir Putin) are responsible for downing the aircraft. What do you think?

Yes. All evidence points that way.
No. Everyone is so quick to point fingers, but there's not enough evidence to support claims of Russian guilt.
I'm not sure. I'll just wait until the investigation is over to make up my mind.
What is up with these Malaysian Airlines planes? I know one airline I won't be flying any time soon...
     View Results