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NISKAYUNA: A friend in need

Imagine your child crossing a busy road with a friend and, in just the blink of an eye, he is hit by a car and thrown more than 30 feet. The driver never meant to do it, and he stops, helping as best he can while emergency responders rush to the scene. After your son is stabilized, they fly him on a helicopter to the region's largest hospital, and you wait. The waiting doesn't just last for hours, instead it goes on for days, and those days feel like years. Then, if things go well, your young son faces possibly months of rehabilitation.

It sounds like a bad dream, but for the family of 12-year-old Julian Mallein, it is the reality they have woken up with every day since Nov. 11. That's the night their son was hit by a car when crossing Balltown Road with Dustin DiGirolamo, a friend from the neighborhood.

Dustin suffered only minor injuries, but Julian was injured so severely that he was put on a breathing machine as part of his treatment at Albany Medical Center. Now Julian, a young man who was known throughout Van Antwerp Middle School as a class cut-up with an easy manner, is working his way through a rehabilitation regimen at Sunnyview in Schenectady.

Its not an easy road, according to family friend Leela Moore, and the young boy who everyone loves may never be able to play football again, but at least he's alive and his family can look forward to better days ahead. His classmates have already heralded that prospect by recording and sending electronic messages to Julian urging him to get well soon.

A trio of family friends in Niskayuna have also responded by starting a fundraising drive to generate funds Mallein's family will need to help cover looming medical expenses.

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