PHOENIX — Owen and Frankie Pettinato are normal Horseshoe Elementary School students, able to run around and laugh with other students at the school.
Just looking at them, you wouldn't know that they were both diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.
The kids' very active life is more of a triumph of will from their parents, Aaron and Tiffany, who have to give them multiple breathing treatments, vest compressions and medications every day.
"It's nonstop," Tiffany said. "There’s no vacation for their cystic fibrosis treatments."
Most of the effort to keep the kids healthy has fallen on Tiffany, since Aaron is also the principal of the elementary school that Owen, Frankie and the couple's oldest daughter Aubrey all attend.
The COVID-19 pandemic made it even more difficult to keep Owen and Frankie safe. None of the family could attend school in-person last year since the virus can be a fatal threat to kids with cystic fibrosis.
Despite all of these challenges, Aaron was still committed to keeping the elementary school up and running.
That's why a former parent of the school, Lindsay Yazzie, asked the 12 News Miracle Makers to step in and help the family out.
"They’re just such kind, genuine, caring people," Yazzie said. "[Aaron] puts his heart and soul into everything he does here, and he makes a tremendous impact in every child that goes here."
To help reward the family for everything they've been through, 12 News partnered with Mountain America Credit Union and Great Wolf Lodge to give them a gift of $3,000 and a staycation at the lodge.
"I think it’s amazing," Aaron said. "I’m really grateful that my wife got recognized. Like I said she deserves all the credit. She sets the tone for our family and puts others before herself, so, yeah, I’m not surprised."
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