Family hopes April the giraffe's calf will be named after their late son

Gio Maggiore's name is a finalist in a contest to name April the giraffe's calf.

ByABC News
April 28, 2017, 8:51 AM

— -- Gio Maggiore's parents said the six-year-old's biggest fear was being forgotten.

Now his family is hoping that the memory of him may live on through the naming of a newborn giraffe.

The Massachusetts boy, who died April 10 after battling a congenital heart defect during all of his short life, loved animals and one kind in particular.

“When he was a baby, he liked a giraffe pacifier, he had giraffe stuffed animals, he had giraffe costumes because he liked giraffes,” his mother Maya Maggiore told ABC Boston affiliate WCVB-TV.

So it wasn’t surprising when Gio was glued to a computer screen during his final days, waiting in anticipation as a YouTube livestream showed April the giraffe’s labor at New York’s Animal Adventure Park.

Gio died five days before the giraffe gave birth on April 15.

But a unique way to honor the memory of the fun-loving and courageous child came to the family afterward.

“Somebody had said, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if they named the giraffe after Gio?’” Maggiore explained.

Now it could happen. The name Gio -- along with Apollo, Geoffrey and Ollie -- is a finalist in a contest by the zoo to name the male calf.

Voting is open until Sunday, April 30. Gio’s family will find out on Monday if April’s son will bear his name.

“Win, lose, name or no name, there’s just going to be so many people that are going to know his name,” father Chris Maggiore said.