Their son was obsessed with horror movies. After his death, they're taking up the torch.
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Muscular Dystrophy Association

When Kyle Cerilli was a kid, he was mildly obsessed with everything horror.

Nothing too scary, but anything kid-friendly with a monster — "Goosebumps," "E.T.," "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" — was right up his alley. In fact, he loved the horror genre so much that before long, he started writing movie scripts himself.

"That's what he really enjoyed doing," Kyle's dad, Vin, remembers. "So that's what his focus became: writing and film."


Kyle with his parents. All images via Vin Cerilli, used with permission.

When Kyle was 6, he received a frightening diagnosis: muscular dystrophy.

Muscular dystrophy is a progressive disease that would, over the course of his life, strip Kyle of the freedom to walk, talk, run, and play; to laugh, hug, eat — and even breathe.

With Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Kyle's physical functions declined throughout his childhood. By age 12, he was using a wheelchair. Despite his muscle-debilitating disease, Kyle never gave up. "Kyle was just the same as any other kid," explains Vin. "His wants, his needs, his desires, everything growing up was the same as any other kid."

So as any passionate person would do, Kyle continued to pursue his dream of filmmaking. Over the years, he worked at a movie theater, started a production company with his friends (aptly named Morbidly Amusing Productions), and attended Rhode Island College for degrees in both creative writing and film.

Kyle working on the set of a film.

Enter "Slimebuck," the last script Kyle was working on when he passed away at age 30 in 2014.

In classic kid-friendly horror fashion, "Slimebuck" is the story of a boy who finds an alien in his home while his parents are away. It’s "E.T." meets "Home Alone," complete with mad-scientist burglars and a very real puppet monster (at Kyle's insistence, nothing is computer-generated).

A still image from "Slimebuck," featuring a drawing of the alien.

"At the end there, it became very difficult," recalls Vin, noting that Kyle typed most of the script with one finger because he had lost all other strength in his body. "Kyle passed away on April 7, 2014. At that point, he was bedridden and couldn't move for himself any longer, but even that day he was still tweaking his script. Talk about dedication and strength and will. He's the strongest person I've ever known."

After Kyle died, his parents were determined to see "Slimebuck" through to completion.

They picked up where Kyle left off, teamed up with Kyle’s friend, director Tom DeNucci, and just over a year later released the completed 20-minute short film.

"A movie is a movie, but this story is about Kyle getting to have the last word — not muscular dystrophy," Vin says.

Vin and his wife, Annette, are doing everything they can to ensure Kyle's dream of a feature-length film is fulfilled, even with Kyle not here to finish it himself.

"That's what this is all about," stresses Vin, "building awareness of the movie, Kyle's story, and muscular dystrophy."

Vin hopes that his efforts to raise awareness of muscular dystrophy will help other families affected by the disease.

"If it's accepted by everyone a little more," he says, "then the child who's affected is going to feel a little more comfortable."

Of course, Vin also dreams of a time when there will be better therapies for muscular dystrophy and maybe even, one day, a cure.

In telling Kyle’s story, Vin also hopes to share the urgent need for treatments and cures for diseases like Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Although higher standards of care have allowed patients like Kyle to live into their late 20s to early 30s, the disease is still 100% fatal.


If you're a fan of family-friendly horror, be sure to check out the "Slimebuck" short film and website. The crew is also working on a documentary about Kyle.

And check out this video for more on Kyle and "Slimebuck":

Photo courtesy of Macy's
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Macy's and Girls Inc. believe that all girls deserve to be safe, supported, and valued. However, racial disparities continue to exist for young people when it comes to education levels, employment, and opportunities for growth. Add to that the gender divide, and it's clear to see why it's important for girls of color to have access to mentors who can equip them with the tools needed to navigate gender, economic, and social barriers.

Anissa Rivera is one of those mentors. Rivera is a recent Program Manager at the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc., a nonprofit focusing on the holistic development of girls ages 5-18. The goal of the organization is to provide a safe space for girls to develop long-lasting mentoring relationships and build the skills, knowledge, and attitudes to thrive now and as adults.

Rivera spent years of her career working within the themes of self and community empowerment with young people — encouraging them to tap into their full potential. Her passion for youth development and female empowerment eventually led her to Girls Inc., where she served as an agent of positive change helping to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold.

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Inspiring young women from all backgrounds is why Macy's has continued to partner with Girls Inc. for the second year in a row. The partnership will support mentoring programming that offers girls career readiness, college preparation, financial literacy, and more. Last year, Macy's raised over $1.3M for Girls Inc. in support of this program along with their Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programming for more than 26,000 girls. Studies show that girls who participated are more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, score higher on standardized math tests, and be more equipped for college and campus life.

Thanks to mentors like Rivera, girls across the country have the tools they need to excel in school and the confidence to change the world. With your help, we can give even more girls the opportunity to rise up. Throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases or donate online to support Girls Inc. at Macys.com/MacysGives.

Who runs the world? Girls!

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Over the past six years, it feels like race relations have been on the decline in the U.S. We've lived through Donald Trump's appeals to America's racist underbelly. The nation has endured countless murders of unarmed Black people by police. We've also been bombarded with viral videos of people calling the police on people of color for simply going about their daily lives.

Earlier this year there was a series of incidents in which Asian-Americans were the targets of racist attacks inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given all that we've seen in the past half-decade, it makes sense for many to believe that race relations in the U.S. are on the decline.

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Did you know that girls who are encouraged to discover and develop their strengths tend to be more likely to achieve their goals? It's true. The question, however, is how to encourage girls to develop self-confidence and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

This is why Macy's has committed to partnering with Girls Inc. and making it easy to support their mission. In a national campaign running throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar or donate online to support Girls Inc. and empower girls throughout the country.


Kaylin St. Victor, a senior at Brentwood High School in New York, is one of those girls. She became involved in the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc. when she was in 9th grade, quickly becoming a role model for her peers.

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Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

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