A loss of a child can leave one questioning everything from faith to fate.
Greg Latini and his wife turned their pain into purpose and launched Operation Sweet Tooth in memory of their darling 8-year-old daughter Christina, who died from misdiagnosed myocarditis in 2016. Myocarditis is an inflammation of the tissue in the heart. When detected, it can be treated. Christina's symptoms were mistaken for a virus.
Operation Sweet Tooth and helps bring hope and joy to children who may be sick, homeless or less fortunate in myriad ways.
One day closer
It's every parent's worst nightmare , yet Greg finds a way to keep putting one foot in front of the other. "We have a daily mantra, my wife and I," Greg said. "One day closer"—meaning as each day passes, they get one step closer to reuniting with their little girl in heaven. Coping with their own grief, while helping their son through his, is exactly as hard as you'd expect.
What's in a name?
Originally from New York, Greg now calls Charlotte home, where he's a Wealth Management Advisor for TIAA. After migrating south, Greg joined F3—a male leadership organization built on three pillars: Fitness, Fellowship and Faith. Founded in Charlotte in 2011 and now in 25 states, the F3 band of brothers became a critical support system for Greg when Christina died. "Sweet Tooth"—as Greg nicknamed her—had been an enthusiastic, charismatic participant in F3 family events, and her presence became sorely missed.
When the Latinis decided to start a charity to help keep Christina's loving spirit alive, the F3 community came out in support of Operation Sweet Tooth events. This past April, they held their first major run/walk/virtual fundraiser with 469 participants. The money they raised helps support various charitable activities, including delivering toys to a local hospital and orphanage, as well as providing school supplies and Easter baskets to kids in need. "Christina was always first to make a new classmate feel welcome or comfort someone who needed it. She made a friend of every person and animal. In her short life, she made a real impact. We're honoring her by putting smiles on other kids' faces."
"None of us know what's in the cards," he says. "I can't fix what's happened to my daughter. But, maybe I can help someone else's daughter or son…because that's what she would've done."
Heaven got quite an angel. Just way too soon.
To learn more, go to the Operation Sweet Tooth web site .