Scranton student raises funds in honor of brother

“How many people does it take to make a difference? One.”


Abraham Musonda, 15, (left), with his brother, Tripp Mack, 7, (R).
Abraham Musonda, 15, (left), with his brother, Tripp Mack, 7, (R).

Brotherly love was the winner at Scranton Public School last month when an elementary student put his jump roping skills to the test to raise funds in honor of his brother who is suffering from a debilitating disease.

By the end of the fundraiser, Tripp Mack, 7, of Scranton had successfully raised $1,464 for the American Heart Association’s Jump Rope and Hoops for Heart school-wide fundraiser in February.

Though he supported a wide-reaching charity, Mack helped raise funds with a certain person in mind: his brother.

Mack’s brother, Abraham Musonda, has undergone five open-heart surgeries since being born without a left ventricle of his heart, a condition called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.

Musonda, 15, a sophomore at Scranton High School, has endured multiple complications from his disease and last year the family had to be away for a good part of the summer.

The boys’ mother, Deidre Mack, who works as a paraprofessional at the school, said when her son, Tripp, found out the American Heart Association helped people like his brother, he wanted to be part of the fundraiser.

“He wanted to help,” she said.

Deidre Mack explained Musonda’s condition as basically having half a heart. Unfortunately, his disease is worsening, taking its toll on his liver and leading to a Stage 3 diagnosis of fibrosis. She said her son might have to be placed on a heart donor list in the near future, but doctors are doing everything possible to avoid that.

In the meantime, people want to make a difference for Musonda, his family, and people around the country suffering from similar ailments.

“We often ask our students, ‘How many people does it take to make a difference?’” said Karyn Chiapella, a special education teacher at Scranton Public Schools. “And they know the answer: One.”

Not only did Mack make a difference for his school community, Chiapella said, but for his brother.

“The amount of support Tripp received for his brother and the AHA was unbelievable,” she said. “We live in an awesome community with the greatest friends, family and kids and for Tripp, we could not be prouder of this kind and generous young man.”