Last week’s coverage about Dan Marino’s other daughter is perplexing. Way too many members of the media were using terms like “fall from grace” in stories about the man.
In The Herald, the size and style of the headline on the Jan. 31 Sports page article seemed inappropriate, since Dan Marino is a human being, and to my knowledge, never claimed to be perfect. None of us is infallible or free from sin of some sort.
For parents in South Florida, the story of the Marino family’s determination, heroism and leadership on autism issues far override any human foibles that have been disclosed.
When my son was diagnosed, Dan was the voice for our children who couldn’t speak. Dan’s openness about his son’s challenges made it easier to tell our own families after diagnosis. His son Michael’s improvement gave so many of us hope that our children might one day be independent, too.
For years, Dan was willing to get on a plane and educate Florida legislators about the lifesaving therapies and new treatments for autism. It was his star power that helped make our children visible in Tallahassee.
I was on one of those trips, and though I never met nor even shook his hand, I was grateful to him for looking out for all kids with autism, not just his own.
His foundation also funded the internationally-respected Dan Marino Center and the Marino Autism Research Institute, where highly-trained experts unlock the mysteries of autism.
Early support to the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) allowed the University of Miami to expand that program long before anyone else recognized its enormous value to our community.
And, it is well known within the community that Dan and Claire often paid for treatments for children whose parents couldn’t afford it, although the beneficiaries remained private.
So while the Dan Marino Foundation WalkAbout Autism is only three years old, Marino has literally walked in our shoes for two decades.
To consider Dan Marino a fallen hero in spite of the philanthropy he has given this community and the dignified way in which he has acknowledged and supports his daughter isn’t worthy of the unremitting criticism.
Thank you, Mr. Marino. My family and I are honored to participate in your walk, and remain grateful for your leadership and generosity.
Hilda S. Mitrani, North Miami Beach