Anthony (Tony) Petrello has achieved mega success in the oil industry. He is the very wealthy CEO of Nabors Industries, a company that contracts oilfield services to other oil firms. Globally, Nabors is responsible for about 500 drilling rigs. That level of responsibility keeps a CEO busy; however, Tony’s has many other things on his mind.
One could argue that Petrello’s primary focus is his daughter Carena Francesca.
Anthony and Cindy’s baby girl was born at 24 weeks, weighed 20 ounces, and has a disease common to premature infants. Carena has periventricular leukomalacia, or PVL, a problem that develops because blood and thus an adequate quantity of oxygen don’t get to the brain during the growth of the fetus. The lack of oxygen causes neurological issues.
The first step in caring for Carena was a series of operations to save her heart and her sight. Soon after the surgeries, Carena developed cerebral palsy and other developmental problems. Her issues presented the Petrello’s with the realities of raising a child who faced a life filled with significant challenges.
For example, as Carena grew she began losing the ability to do things she had been doing. She learned to talk and then at around five lost the ability. Today, like many other kids afflicted with PVL Carena can only stay mobile using a wheelchair and she can’t feed herself.
Her parents, Tony and Cynthia Petrello began by learning about the diseases associated with PVL and adjusted their expectations. Each new experience served to increase their awareness of what was necessary to care for kids like Carena. The financial and personal costs are extraordinary and certainly not something parents ever dream will happen to their child. Carena’s parents began an investigative journey across the country to find a pediatric research institution that could help.
Their exhaustive search led them to conclude that translational research on an enormous scale is the only approach that would make a significant difference and no one was doing any. Tony and Cindy started working with a research facility at Texas Children’s Hospital and donated $5 million. The plan aimed the money at studying neurological problems in children and finding solutions. The Petrello family’s new goal is to raise $7 million.
Learn more about Anthony Petrello: https://www.bcm.edu/news/genetics/brain-heart-link-explain-sudden-death-in-rett