MAHOPAC, N.Y. - For the last eight years, Brittany and Rolando Gregorio's world was turned upside down.
Now the family that had been struggling for so long with health issues, which led to financial problems, has a 'glowing' future, sparked by the health of their son, and the potential of their new venture - Glow Jars By Britt.
The Gregorio's oldest of two sons, eight-year-old Jayden, had been dealing with a respiratory problem that doctors had been unable to solve since birth, and the family was running out of money and options.
"It went undiagnosed and misdiagnosed for many years," Brittany Gregorio told Daily Voice. "The past two years were the worst. He would have these cough attacks that would last for hours. Hours eventually became weeks, and weeks turned into eight months straight of this debilitating cough. My husband and I truly thought we were going to lose him. Especially the night we had to call an ambulance because he had stopped breathing."
The Gregorio's - Brittany is originally from Yorktown, while Rolando came here from Guatemala 12 years ago - had to call 911 three times earlier this year because Jayden had stopped breathing.
Then last May, Jayden underwent surgery where a Laryngeal Cleft was discovered. Essentially, Jayden had a hole on his trachea.
Two separate surgeries were performed to correct the problem, but between surgeries, Jayden went through stages of depression, and didn't want to play outside or go to school, and couldn't sleep.
One night Jayden asked his mom to do some crafts to help take his mind off his pain.
"We looked online for some ideas, didn't really find anything, Gregorio said. "About an hour later Jay said 'mommy, can we make a nightlight?' I immediately went to my local craft store, and gathered everything we needed.
"Our first 'nightlight' was Winnie the Pooh," Gregorio added. "After we made it, Jayden said he didn't like it to be called a nightlight. So together, we called them 'Glow Jars.' Seeing my little boy light up from our project inspired me so much. It really hit me pretty hard when Jay said that I should make glow jars for a living. So my glowing journey began."
Gregorio said the jars have been a hit.
"The response has been crazy, they just love them," Gregorio said. "Jayden and I never... Winnie the Pooh was our first jar, and I can't believe it went from just a little fun thing into such an explosion, with people wanting them... I'm backed up with a week's worth of work right now. It's been crazy - but a good crazy.
"It's just awesome," Gregorio added. "We're just so touched... I was in tears after this whole thing started, with all the support and the love we've gotten. It's been a tough couple of years, and we've had some bad luck lately, so this feeling that we might be onto a positive shift is phenomenal."
Since the family was struggling to survive, the growth of the Glow Jars business has made a major difference - possibly even setting them up for a move out of the small apartment they currently occupy in a two-family house.
"It's been huge," Brittany said. "I had been job-hopping over the past several years, because he has been so sick. So I was never really able to hold a job... the financial strain was... incredible.
"But now the jars have made such a tremendous impact," she added. "Such an impact that we may be able to move out of here in a few months, into our own house. That's the goal - to try to keep it rolling."
Gregorio does any kind of custom orders her customers might dream up, including sports teams, Disney themes, and more. Each jar has a flameless LED candle inside, and the jars come in two sizes.
For more info on Glow Jars by Britt, check out her Facebook page - Glow Jars by Britt.
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