Brooklyn went Hollywood on Wednesday, May 23 as Bensonhurst’s own Maria “The Ice Cream Girl” Campanella hosted a four-corner, two-venue breast cancer fundraiser which also served as a celebration for local actor Will DeMeo.
The event, which raised funds for the Maimonides Breast Cancer Center, featured its own red carpet in anticipation of DeMeo’s upcoming movie release. DeMeo, a Gravesend-born actor and director, will star as ‘Sammy the Bull’ Gravano alongside John Travolta’s title role in “Gotti,” hitting theaters June 15.
Campanella’s event encompassed both Paradise Manor Hall (51 Avenue U) and Café Di Giorno (62 Avenue U) with open bars, food and entertainment inside both establishments, as well as on the streets outside.
“It was like a dream,” Campanella said of the event, which featured antique cars, a Spumoni eating contest courtesy of L&B, a smorgasbord of eats, and live music from both a trio of DJs and a tenor singer. “The way everything came together, you can’t make it up. It was craziness.”
Her inspiration this time, the Ice Cream Girl said, was a pair of longtime patrons who have battled breast cancer. “These two ladies from my route, they’ve been incredible,” Campanella said, adding that the two women did the collecting that night themselves and then chose where the money would go.
That they chose Maimonides, Campanella said, made it even more special.
“I’ve been raising money for them since before the breast center opened,” she said. “So this just makes it even better for me. It’s something that really touches my heart.”
In total, the ice cream connoisseur and her supporters raised a whopping $2,935. They also raised awareness for DeMeo’s coming release.
“It was a great event,” said the star, who donned a tank from his recently released clothing line, Brooklyn Brand, to attend the star-studded event. “To me, this is all a blessing. I love what I do but I’m the most grateful when I get to do it in my hometown of Brooklyn, and to have all of my friends and family come out to something like this is the best gift of all.”
Friends – and fans – came from as far as Florida, DeMeo said.
“It means a lot to me,” he said. “I’m so grateful that each and every one of them took the time out to be here not only for me but for Maria. These events of hers are incredible and this one was no different. Everyone outdid themselves this time.”
DeMeo wasn’t the only “Gotti” star on Campanella’s red carpet. Also in attendance were Chris Kerson, who plays Willie Boy Johnson; Nico Bustamante, who plays young Frankie Gotti and Patrick Borriello, who plays Johnny boy Ruggiero. DeMeo was also happy to see friend and pro boxer Paulie Malignaggi.
To boot, he said, “so many people were rocking Brooklyn Brand” – an added touch, he said, meant even more to him.
When asked if it was her most successful event to date, Campanella said simply, “Fugghedaboutit. It was the sickest one yet.”