Chris Carrino: Alumnus and Broadcaster's Personal Battle Becomes Public
July 20, 2011
Bronx, N.Y. - By John Cirillo, FCRH '78
Fordham University alumnus Chris Carrino, GSB '92, has had a distinguished sports broadcast career, most notably for the past decade as the radio voice of the New Jersey Nets on WFAN. Yet despite the Yonkers native's strong, dulcet tones on the airwaves, Carrino has been battling Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy (FSHD), a debilitating form of muscular dystrophy, for most of his adult life.
The cross country travel and mostly-night-games-life of an NBA basketball broadcaster can take its toll on even a perfectly healthy individual, so the treks have sometimes been that much more grueling for the WFUV Radio product. Not many knew. Yet, Carrino has truly achieved elite status in his chosen profession, making his mark with the likes of Vin Scully, Mike Breen, Michael Kay, Bob Papa, Charlie Slowes, and Spero Dedes for excellence in the play-by-play calling of sporting events.
"I was always reluctant to be treated differently," says Carrino, who kept his physical plight to a select few on a need-to-know basis, preferring to fight his fight quietly. That was until earlier this year, when with the support and urging of his wife, Laura, whom he calls "the person who inspires me every day.who finally convinced me that it was time." And so, the Chris Carrino Foundation for FSHD was born.
"I was determined to continue on the path I set forth," reflects the New Jersey resident. "I had dreams of a career in sports broadcasting and dreams of having a family. I was determined not to let FSHD get in the way of those dreams." He was not to be denied.
FSHD is difficult to pronounce, a disease you probably might have never heard of before Carrino began to bring attention to the muscular affliction with a media tour that gained national attention in print, radio and television. Fordham alumni scribes, Tom Canavan of the Associated Press and Dave D'Alessandro of the Newark Star Ledger, broadcast partner Tim Capstraw and his radio outlet WFAN, YES Network and the Nets were among those who teamed to assist in getting the word out. Carrino's efforts have been tireless to fight the disease that effects thousands of adults and children worldwide.
Carrino says that his game plan was always to first "make something of myself" (he sure has) and "then try to help others" (he sure is). Teaming with Jennifer Burgess, "a devoted mother and tireless worker trying to help cure FSHD through her own Long Island foundation," the Chris Carrino Foundation for FSHD was hatched.
The Chris Carrino Foundation for FSHD is a 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to eradicating the life-altering effects of fascioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy. The foundation will hold its inaugural dinner dance inaugural dinner dance on Thursday, August 18. You can find the foundation's website at: www.chriscarrinofoundation.org .