At a ceremony today in Somerville, LEGOLAND Discovery Center Boston unveiled a large nametag on its newly named 20-foot-tall LEGO giraffe GIO. GIO was named in honor of 6-year-old Giovanni “Gio” Maggiore of Medford, who passed away in April after battling congenital heart disease (CHD).

Gio’s family (above) and friends were in attendance, wearing red, his favorite color, and blue “Super Gio” shirts with the letter “G” on it to honor Gio and for CHD awareness.

“We are so overwhelmed by the support from our community,” said Maya Maggiore, Gio’s mother. “Gio would have loved the Giraffe being named after him, and we know that he is with us today in spirit.”

The idea for renaming the giraffe after Gio came from his family and friends, who had previously submitted Gio’s name for the new baby giraffe that was born in April at Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, NY. Gio loved giraffes his whole life. His favorite pacifier was a giraffe, he dressed up as a giraffe for Halloween, and his Make-A-Wish trip was to the Dallas Zoo to visit its large giraffe population.

When Gio’s name didn’t win the contest, a family friend and secretary at Gio’s school, Michelle Hardy, contacted LEGOLAND Discovery Center Boston about the idea of renaming the 20-foot LEGO Giraffe in front of the attraction.

“When Michelle approached us about the idea, we hoped that this small gesture could bring a little joy into Gio’s family’s life at this difficult time,” said David Gilmore, general manager, LEGOLAND Discovery Center Boston. “We were all touched by Gio’s story and hope his love for giraffes can be fondly remembered through this statue which hundreds of children pass and enjoy every day.”

Mayor Stephanie Burke of Medford; Diane Caldwell, assistant superintendent for Medford Public Schools; Suzanne Galusi, principal of Brooks Elementary School principal, which Gio attended; Principal Kathy Kay from Columbus Elementary School where Maya Maggiore works; and Katie Capuccio, Gio’s teacher, all spoke at today’s event.

“Gio faced countless surgeries and fought to live the life he deserved,” Burke said. “The compassion and support everyone has shown the Maggiore family exemplifies the unconditional love we all have for Gio. Even though Gio was taken too soon, his spirit is in all of us and will now live on at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Boston.”

The 20-foot LEGO Giraffe, which is made up of 22,000 DUPLO bricks, was originally named “Tessie” in an online naming contest when LEGOLAND Discovery Center Boston opened in May 2014. In addition to the nametag, a sign inside the attraction will explain to future visitors who Gio was and why the giraffe was named after him. MINILAND, the mini version of Boston landmarks made out of LEGO bricks, will also include a Giraffe replica with a nametag and boy standing next to it to honor Gio Maggiore.