Karen Drew: Catching up with Cipriano family ahead of annual fundraiser

Cipriano family. (Sal's IG)

“He still has seizures. He can’t be left alone. We need around the clock care.” 

That’s what Rose Cipriano told me this week when we caught up and I asked about her son Salvatore’s health. I was reaching out to the family, as I know they hold the Cipriano Classic to help raise money for their medical expenses, and wanted to know how the fundraising was going.

Unfortunately it’s not going as well. As time passes, memories fade, and the financial help dries up.

Many remember the family’s story - the baseball batt attack inside their Farmington Hills home that killed Bob Cipriano, and nearly killed his wife Rose and their son Sal. The couple’s adopted son, Tucker and his friend Mitchell Young, were later convicted of the crime.

For years, I have shared Salvatore’s growth and recovery -- he really wasn’t expected to live, but he did. He suffered a severe brain injury and doctors were not sure if he would walk again.

Previous: Cipriano family fighting against odds 9 years after deadly Farmington Hills attack

We’ve followed Sal to his medical appointments in Canada, documented his training when he decided he wanted to learn how to walk and run again, and we helped organize the chance for him to throw out the first pitch at a Tiger’s game. While we boast and brag about his recovery, there is a sad truth - there is so much more that needs to be done and Sal really needs help.

Sal’s seizures have become a huge issue, his mom tells me, so he needs around the clock care, which of course, costs a lot of money. He does take medicine to help with the seizures, but that affects his short term memory, which now has made it challenging for him to pursue his education. 

Sal has graduated high school and is trying to take some vocational classes, as the college classes are too difficult with the short term memory issues. Sal is still playing baseball and that is his passion!

Rose says health-wise she continues to improve. She does deal with debilitating headaches, but always stays positive. She is able to swim and golf and for her that brings her a little break from caretaking.

I get emails asking about the family often. Isabella is now 18 and attends Notre Dame on a scholarship and hopes to pursue a degree in pre-med. Sal’s brother Tanner is in California pursuing writing and producing jobs in the entertainment industry .

The Cipriano Classic is this Friday (June 10) - and here’s information on how you can register or simply donate. 

Sal’s next goal is to regain his speech and is looking for a speech therapist than can help him - which is costly.  In the meantime, Sal remains so positive and I have to say, his sense of humor is amazing. I like to text back and forth with him and he always makes me smile with his outlook. 

Oh, if you want to follow him, he posts on instagram under justsal101. He has been training and will be there at the run - give him a hug or a high-five, he loves the encouragement!

Here’s the info on the 11th annual Cipriano Classic on June 10.


About the Author:

Karen Drew is the anchor of Local 4 News First at 4, weekdays at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. She is also an award-winning investigative reporter and part of the Local 4 Defenders team.