STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – If you “Danced the Night Away” with E.C.H.O. on the evening of Oct. 22, you know the name is an acronym for Emergency Children’s Help Organization, newly established with the purpose of assisting children and families with special needs.
But for those who were unable to attend and perhaps are unfamiliar with the organization – allow us to fill you in.
E.C.H.O. was formed in April 2008 by Sebastian Angelico and a dynamic group of executive board members who have pledged their support to families of seriously ill children who, due to financial burden, might possibly be denied proper health care. E.C.H.O.’s mission: To accumulate resources to benefit the welfare of a child.
So then, as a way to express their interest and support, and celebrate the success of the organization, a whopping 600 revelers gathered at the lush, Colonial-inspired Eagle Oaks Golf & Country Club in Farmingdale, N.J., to salute the foundation, and discover the generous way it has embraced the community and the manner in which the foundation, still in its infant stages, has benefited children and families.
In fact, during the evening’s fare, Heather Fiorentino, mother of 4-year-old Gabriella, felt moved to grace the podium to deliver a heartfelt testimonial on behalf of her daughter, who was diagnosed last year with a non-malignant brain tumor. In addition to the six-hour surgery necessary to excise the tumor, Gabriella had to cope with post-surgery intravenous medications she needed because of a bacterial infection she’d contracted during her lengthy hospital stay.
Upon hearing of the family’s plight, E.C.H.O. stepped in to offer their support as well as monetary assistance. And when asked about her condition, Gabriella, who’s now doing well and is back to school, is quick to explain with a chuckle that her tumor has made her very strong, inasmuch as she’s used to hearing accolades for her strength and perseverance. Mom Heather, dad Robert and sister Daniella, 7, will be eternally grateful to E.C.H.O., a host of individuals whom Heather refers to as her angels.
The glamor-laden evening, characterized by refinement and originality, sparkled like one of Hollywood’s finest red-carpet affairs, replete with dazzling damsels and the most gentlemanly of gents who wouldn’t have missed a chance to donate to the not-for-profit and accomplish volumes for those in need. Revelers received star treatment and waxed ecstatic over the amenities afforded at the well-appointed club accented by old world charm and contemporary creativity.
Honored during the event were Dr. Joseph Bogdan and Inside Out columnist Carol Ann Benanti.
On hand to add a touch of Hollywood starpower to the event was actor/comedian Joe Pesci, best known for his roles in the blockbusters “Raging Bull” “GoodFellas,” “Casino” and “My Cousin Vinny.”
Innovative door prizes, gift baskets, money trees and 50/50 games of chance abounded – not to mention a live auction that included bidding for the renowned Rao’s Restaurant reservations, Super Bowl tickets, designer purses and Ranger box seat.
Kudos, then, to executive board members, the above-mentioned Sebastian Angelico, chairman; Paul Dapolito, III, vice chairman; Joseph DiGiso, secretary; Pat Gambaro, treasurer, and members at large Robert Felice, Nicholas Marone and Michael Singer, the board of directors and committee members who have set their sights on assisting children whose future might otherwise be bleak due to a medical or living emergency.
And because an awesome affair is also about good food and music, fine food and cocktails flowed – and once again the party popped with the diversified sounds of E-Squared Entertainment, the dynamic deejay company that took locals through the decades – as well as providing them with a sampling of the top 40.
Those interested in learning more about the organization and/or in making a donation should contact E.C.H.O. at 718 967-9086.