Nine-year-old Giana Cardonita was glad her brain tumor was removed. But what she really loved was being "adopted" by the Yale women's hockey team.
In August 2010, 9-year-old Giana Cardonita of Guilford was diagnosed with a brain tumor the size of a tennis ball right in the middle of her brain. Michael DiLuna, MD, pediatric neurologist at Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital, and his team, performed a successful seven-hour surgery on Giana. After her surgery, Giana became his first "Bulldog Buddy."
As an undergraduate at Yale, Dr. DiLuna played football and began to envision a program that would meld his two loves – Yale sports and medicine. He formed Bulldog Buddies, where a Yale athletic team adopts a patient as a source of inspiration. The Yale women's ice hockey team adopted Giana for the 2010-2011 season. As an honorary member of their team, Giana has her own jersey, attends games and has even been taught to skate by the team.