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Carl's Blog

Update From Carl's Dad 9/17/2008

Carl was going to write a blog on this web site, but he was so busy that he has not had the proper time that would allow him to put together a decent report., I'm pinch writing for him. I realize that activity on this site is down, however I also know the interest and love for Carl by his family and friends will never wane.

For me Carl is my life and I think about him twenty four hours a day. I guess that will make my reporting on Carl's life somewhat biased, but that’s the way it is. Carl is more remarkable to me now than he was last year or the year before, as he grows in life his attitude toward everything is remarkably accepting. Carl like everyone his age has days that he feels like things are overwhelming. The thing about Carl is once he decides that he will go ahead and accept that challenge, nothing gets in his way.

The challenge of law school is particularly hard. The new challenges of reading page after page of law books, is life changing, since Carl’s previous readings were of necessary text books and an occasional novel. this would be a challenge for all in the ESPN , 500 channel cable world he grew up in. and for Carl it is especially so, since he must figure out the mechanics of working two computers as well as reading his law books and taking notes. Villanova supplied Carl with an in class aide, no such crutch is afforded him at Seton Hall law.... A few weeks ago Carl could not figure out how he was going to put it all together, and to tell you the truth neither did I, now after three weeks Carl is working hard, adapting to his new life in a rented apartment as a law student in Newark, NJ.

Tricia and I, in our own ways help Carl as much as we can. We both wish we can do more as all parents do. Carl is well on his way to an economically secure life based on his education and work ethic. As for his happiness, that is always our concern but Carl has not really given us any reason to dwell on this aspect of life. He is such a great personality and such a great kid, when people get to know him they are friends for life.

Carl this summer worked as a merchant advocate. He got up in the morning spent about three hours getting ready for the day, got dressed for business and went out in the big mean world of small business and went cold calling for hours a day, in the summer heat. I do not know how much money he made or even if he made any money, considering the fact he had to pay for his aide, buy lunch for two and pay about fifty dollars a day in gas. One thing I do know is those who allowed him into their office and met Carl, received the great privilege of meeting one of the greatest young men they will ever meet, whether or not they signed on for Carl’s product. Carl also received much more than monetary compensation, he spoke to hundreds of small businessmen, got a firsthand look at how people act and react in the business world and believe me, Carl told me about the good and the bad, he of course got an education that you do not get in the classroom, it was of course a great experience.

as far as embryonic stem cell research and spinal cord research in general , I’m somewhat skeptical but still the hope is that someday my beautiful son will once again be able to walk, go to the bathroom ,use his hands ,have that great sense of touch, have sex, all the things we all take for granted. As for this year’s politics and embryonic stem cell research, I understand that Obama and Biden are for it and McCain is also for it while Palin is against it. I still do not know why it is a political issue. The only embryonic stem cells that would be used are the one that will be burned (destroyed) regardless. I do wish we could find out what great cures these so called miracle cells really have. Could Carl and many like him really be cured if they stopped the political ban on embryonic stem cell research? If so what a disgrace we are not using this science.

For Carl’s future, cure or not he is getting himself ready for a successful and productive life. I hope he gets married has many kids and is extremely successful in business or whatever field he enters. Carl’s brothers and sister along with his great cousins and friends make me confident that Carl will forever have a support group around him that is invaluable when life’s bumps arrive.

For me as I said before Carl is my life, he is my inspiration, I love him beyond words and he continues to be the wind beneath my wings.

Carl will write during the holidays and I will write again in February or sooner

Thank You,
Peter J Riccio

School is Back 8/20/2008

My summer has gone well. I had success with my job. I was able to attract several clients in south jersey as well as north jersey. I enjoyed the freedom of the job, it allowed me to work up north or down south, because of this freedom I could spend as much time as I wanted at the beach.

The past three weeks have been the best of the summer, because my two younger brothers were back from their summer semester at Bucknell. This summer break has gone by faster than the past 3 breaks. I think it’s because of all the time I put into my job and getting ready for a new school. I found an apartment two blocks from law school in Newark. It is actually a very nice part of the city. The past few years since they built the new Prudential Center (where the Devils play), the area surrounding the stadium has been extremely improved and that is where I’m living. My place is in at apartment building called Eleven80. As I write this, I’m sitting at my desk and about to spend my first night in my new place. The past two days my family helped me get the apartment set up. Shane and Tyler helped me move the heavy stuff, but I have to give a special thanks to my Mom. She spent hours setting up the room and is making sure everything is perfect for me.

Tomorrow morning I am going for my first day of orientation. I’m sure it will be great; I actually already met a few people who I made friends with during a walking tour for first year students around the law school area. We went to dinner and a bar after the tour, it was a fun night and I was happy to already make a few new friends. I’m looking forward to this new and exciting challenge, and I know with my family and friends help and support I will succeed.

Carl Riccio

Goodbye Nova Hello Seton Hall 5/28/2008

Four years at Villanova, wow! I remember the first year at school, after 2 weeks my family came to visit and I was not doing to good with the transition to the college life. It was nice to receive support from my family at that time, and over the next few weeks I was able to make adjustments and have a successful four years at Villanova. This experience really helps my mental approach to anything new I am going to do. I know if law school is not going well in the first few weeks, I will be able to make the necessary adjustments with the help of my families support.

I would like to thank everyone who has helped me at Villanova University including family, teachers, student, administration, and the entire health services center. The two people who have helped me the most over the past four years are Steve McWilliams and Betty Berry. Steve helped me with any problem I had. If something was not handicap accessible, he got it fixed. Betty was with me from my first class freshman year to my last final senior year. She helped with all my morning classes. I could not ask for a more fun and enjoyable person to assist me in my classes.

It has only been a few days since I left school and I already miss it. Every other time I have come home, I knew I was going back, but that feeling is not there anymore. I know there are new, exciting, and challenging obstacles in my future and the first will be law school. I can only hope my experience at Seton Hall is as fun and successful as my time at Villanova.

Carl Riccio
Note: Next week- Summer plans update.

5 years and we love him even more! 2/21/2008

It is now five years since those who knew Carl - friends, teachers, coaches and family - were shook to our core when the awful realization that Carl was paralyzed reached our consciousness. That day changed my life. For five years I have fought my dreams of despair, self pity, and emotional distress, not only at Carl’s loss but at mine. I realize how selfish this may sound, but I am still bitter and distressed over the fact that my beautiful boy did not get to realize his full potential in athletics, especially baseball where he had just won All American honors. I, like many parents do, live vicariously through my children and they have all given me so much to be proud of. Still it seems every day I am brought back to that awful day - 2/22/2003 - when I went to the mat and Carl said “Dad I can’t move anything “. Tears came from his and my eyes as they are right now.

Now I have different hopes and dreams for Carl. I want him to be successful in business , I want him to have a wife who loves him and children who make him happy and whole. That, of course, sounds like all parents hopes and dreams for their children . The only difference is that Carl is a quadriplegic . This makes him not physically handicapped , but definitely physically challenged. Carl must continually adapt to succeed. He has and he will. He also has to overcome all the challenges of work, love and relationships that are multiplied tenfold by the fact he is in a wheel chair.

Our happiness will forever be linked with Carl’s . A few months ago Carl confided in Tricia and I that people do not know the real him. Kids at college do not find time to get to know him - he teared up and I just felt like crying. Carl’s best friend at college - his cousin Ryan McCarey - graduated last year and along with the fact that his brother Peter was not at Villanova made for some lonely days. The times Carl lets us see this sad and depressed side are very few. Although I know they must happen now and then I hope they are not frequent.

Carl will have a new challenge shortly. He will graduate from Villanova University Business School in May and has been accepted to various law schools. He will determine which is best for him and then embark on this new challenge of law school. I do not know all of Carl’s thoughts, dreams and aspirations, but I do know this - I have no doubt Carl will achieve whatever goals he sets for himself in the future. As for me and his mother, we will do whatever is necessary to give Carl all he needs to achieve his goals, for his goals are ours.

Finally I would like to say to all who care about and pray for Carl. Thank you. I hope something happens and next year I can talk about a cure for Carl but until that day he will make us proud as he has done for the first 22 years of his life in or out of a wheel chair. He continues to be the love of our life and the wind beneath our wings. As I said above, the only thing that changes every year since he was injured is that we love him even more!


Peter and Tricia Riccio

Happy Holidays 12/24/2007

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Yesterday, I was at a family Christmas party and had a great time. It was nice to see all the relatives on the Riccio side. Tomorrow, on Christmas I will see my Mom’s side of the family.
My first semester of my senior year is over. It’s nice that I am done with some of my more difficult classes like advanced finance, but I’m disappointed because I only have one semester left at Villanova. The three and a half years went by fast, and I’m looking forward to a great last semester.
Currently I am finishing the last parts of my law school applications for Seton Hall, Rutgers, and Villanova. I will be done this week, and I should here back from the schools in a couple months.

Carl Riccio

vote yes Nov. 6 10/20/2007

This week I am home on fall brake. Two weeks ago I took the LSAT, I should get my score by the end of this week. I was able to see my whole family this week and that was great. Shane and Tyler were home until Wednesday, I was happy to see them because they will not be home much the rest of the school year, because of their wrestling. Yesterday, I went in to Hoboken with my parents to see Peter, and we went out to dinner at a great Italian restaurant where Frank Sinatra used to eat regularly. Tonight I am going into the city with my sister. We are meeting up with my cousins and going out for my cousin Johns birthday.
On November 6 all New Jersey citizens will have an opportunity to help fund stem cell research by checking yes on ballot question number 2. Last Sunday a couple newspapers published a letter I wrote about the stem cell referendum and the importance of supporting this research. Please, everyone vote yes for this question. Bellow is the letter I wrote for the newspapers.

Stem Cell Research: Hope for a Better Tomorrow
By Carl Riccio
Close your eyes for a moment and visualize a young man, strong and vibrant, with the world at his fingertips. Now picture that young man being told that, in the blink of an eye, his life as he knew it was over. Imagine him hearing the words that he may never walk again, or tie his own shoes, throw a ball with his child, or hug his parents.
Now let me introduce you to that person. It is me.
Now imagine that there is something you could do to help reverse this terrible reality. Imagine having the chance to harness some the world’s greatest minds who believe a cure is literally within their grasp, not just for me but for those you love that suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, juvenile diabetes, or multiple sclerosis.
On November 6th, when you see the Stem Cell Research Referendum on your ballot, you can do that. You can vote to allow our state to invest up to $45 million per year for the next decade in stem cell research, facilitating an aggressive, moral and ethical pursuit of cures.
Those who oppose research, and this referendum in particular, urge you to allow this moment to simply pass us by. Their opposition is grounded in either remarkable ignorance or a complete indifference to the truth. Their chief claim is that stem cell research is actually a sneaky way to allow the rampant cloning of human beings.
Here is what they conveniently forget to say. The very same law which created this November’s ballot referendum, Public Law 2007, chapter 117, specifically states that “no funds authorized for, or made available to, an eligible research institution pursuant to this act shall be used for the purpose of human cloning.” Moreover, the very same law which legalized stem cell research in New Jersey, enacted in 2004, also stated that “ a person who knowingly engages or assists, directly or indirectly, in the cloning of a human being is guilty of a crime in the first degree.” So how exactly is the ballot question going to foster human cloning?
One state legislator, Assemblyman Michael Doherty, went so far earlier this year as to refer to embryonic stem cell research as “expensive and aimless” and “devoid of any real or measurable potential.” Unfortunately, that statement is devoid of factual basis. Former Republican U. S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who unlike Assemblyman Doherty is a renowned physician, gave a speech two years ago in which he said that embryonic stem cells “especially offer hope for treating a range of diseases that require tissue to regenerate or restore function.” That was two years ago. Imagine how much closer we are today than we were two years ago.
I am certain that those who, under the cloak of being “pro-life,” will continue to disregard my life and the lives of others in my situation. They will seek to defeat this referendum through ideologically-driven deception. The stakes are just too high for that.
Allowing stem cell research to take place in our State nearly four years ago was historic. Funding the laboratories where it can best flourish, as was done last year, was the next step. But without the long-term resources to conduct the cutting-edge science, such that this referendum provides, our job is not yet done.

I was injured on February 22, 2003. Sometime later, I realized that dwelling on ‘what might have been’ was probably not healthy, but dreaming and hoping with the proper perspective is both healthy and productive.
Every day since the day I was injured, my mom has said to me, “Carl, I am going out today to find you a cure.” On November 6, you can cast a vote to help her do that. This is the moment where politics and rhetoric must be rejected, and facts and hope embraced. I believe strongly we can defeat these and other terrible medical conditions just as we have defeated so many others which, at the time, seemed truly insurmountable. And I believe this referendum may well give us the funds we need to do it in this decade.
I have made a lot of progress these past four years. I recently started my senior year in college, and I am studying to go to law school. I am very thankful for what I have.
But I am still dreaming and hoping for more, because I know that tomorrow can be better than today.

Carl Riccio

middle summer 7/23/2007

It’s only a month before I start my senior year. I am excited to get back to school, and really enjoy my last year at Villanova University. Recently I have been living in Lavallette while getting ready for school and studying for the LSAT, which I will be taking in September. I just got my first diagnostic test back and I got a 157. My teacher said this is a good score to start with, and I only need to improve it a little. Although I am not 100% sure I want to go to Law School, I am doing everything I need to do, incase I decide I want to go to Law School. Along with this I have been doing some day trading and so far this summer I am doing well. I really like following the market and learning about the economy and market trends.
The past few weeks I have gone to three or four family parties and it has been fun seeing all of my extended family. All of my family gets along well, so all of these parties are fun and I always look forward to the next one.

Carl Riccio

End Junior Year 5/14/2007

Sadly, another year of college is done. This past semester was not only my most enjoyable semester, but it was also my best academic semester as well. Going into the semester I had a lot of questions. I knew turning 21 was going to change my experience at college. I figured that going out more might have a negative effect on my grades. Not only did my grades stay the same but they actually improved. This past semester I also took the hardest class of my college career, Portfolio Management. Ironically it will be one of my highest grades since I will receive an A.

Next fall, when I return to school I know many things are going to be different. First my older brother Peter will not be at Villanova for the first time in six years. To his credit he’s graduating with his MBA next week and I’m sure he will have success in the business world. Along with my brother many of my close friends at school are seniors and are graduating as well, including my cousin Ryan. In contrary my assistant Noah agreed to work another year with me. Knowing he is staying another year will make my summer more enjoyable and my transition back to college the smoothest one yet. Another good thing about next year is that my younger cousin Kevin will be living right next to me, so I will see more of him since he is now on main campus.

This summer should be a very exciting fun filled adventure for me. I look forward to sitting on the beach with my family and of course our never ending entourage of extended family and friends. This summer I will not entirely be away from school because I am taking an online course as well as a prep class for the LSAT, which I will take in September. One down fall of the summer is that my phone has been off the hook because of my dad always worrying and reminding us of things we need to do. Since we are all employees of my father, there is always the possibility of being fired at any time. So I am still open to any job offers a reader of this may have… Please post if anyone has a good job offer…. Just kidding POPS… But really…

Thank you for the continuing support,

Carl Patrick Riccio


Four years and counting------- 2/15/2007

It is now 4 years since the tragic accident that changed Carl's life, and with it changed his whole family's life...February 22.2003, if I can steal FDR's line, will live in infamy, for all who know and love Carl.

We began searching the world at that time, looking for a cure. The operations, drugs, machines we learned about, gave us hope and determination to have Carl go to any part of the earth to receive any kind of therapy so that he could live a normal life again. Some of the things we found had some legitimacy and others were just way off base. Soon you realize that there is no cure, not now or in the past, no one has been cured of long-term traumatic paralysis...

What we do have is hope in the future, that the great scientists of the world will someday soon find a cure thru whatever means. At this time paralysis best hope is embryonic stem cells. Embryos that will be discarded in the United States are in the thousands annually. No moral or ethical reason could be produced that would keep me from wanting them to be used to help people tragically injured like Carl. Carl’s mother Tricia is the president of NJ coalition for the cure, besides taking care of Carl and her family she is a leader in NJ as an advocate for stem cell research.

Carl is my son and my hero. I know of no one that I respect more for having the ability to live with a terrible injury and make everyone around him feel like nothing is wrong. I still cry almost every night. My flashbacks to that infamous day are vivid and heart pounding. My brain will never let me forget what Carl is missing, the pain he is going thru mentally or physically and how he deals with everything.

Carl tells me that one of his saddest things is that people really do not know the real Carl Riccio. They just know the quadriplegic in a wheel chair even though his personality is in tact. That big, strong, tough, soft hearted, great athlete, tremendous sense of humor and great personality are still masked by the stigma of being handicapped and its limitations in the social world. I know Carl like all of us, is dreaming of the day that he is cured. However I also dream of the day he finds someone who loves him the way he is, that person will be very lucky because Carl wants twelve kids.

For now Carl is finishing up his junior year at Villanova University, and is looking forward to the process of applying to law schools this fall. He would like to attend law school at Villanova, Rutgers or Seton Hall.
With his business background and a law degree the sky will be the limit for a personality like Carl. He is one of a kind, my inspiration in life. I know I speak for my wife Tricia and Carl's three brothers and sister, in saying that Carl has made our lives better because of the person he is and for being our son and their brother.

We will keep hoping for a cure, and Carl will continue living his life and in doing so I can only imagine what accomplishments are ahead of Carl, that will make us the proudest parents on earth.
Peter and Tricia Riccio

after winter break 1/17/2007

Today I started my 2nd semester of my junior year. I can't believe how fast it's going. My winter break was fun! A bunch of my friends had their 21st birthday parties and it was fun to be able to celebrate with them. Next week I will turn 21 and I hope there is not a blizzard on the 22nd the way it was last year. I'm sure I will be going out and having a good time with friends and family. During the winter break Governor Corzine signed a bill to fund the building of a stem cell institute in New Jersey. I was happy to be there with my mom. She and I both spoke at the signing of the bill. It was a great accomplishment for New Jersey and everyone who supports or can potentially benefit from stem cell research. As many of you know I follow sports and recently the football playoffs started. Both teams I route for made the playoffs (Giants and Jets). Sadly they both lost in the first round. Now I am left to cheer for the Colts in the AFC and the Saints in the NFC. Continuing with the sports talk I would like to say I'm proud of my brother Tyler who won the counties in wrestling over the break, I also want to say I'm proud of Shane who is doing a great job wrestling for Bucknell University, I believe his record is 16-9. Goodluck to both of you for the rest of the season.
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