“No one fights alone” — and this fundraiser proves it!
More than 250 individual donors have contributed to the Facebook fundraiser launched by members of the Kiwanis Club of Bensonhurst & Bay Ridge on Feb. 7 to benefit “Castle on the Hill” Firefighter Reno Genovese and his wife Michele, who has been bravely battling a rare form of brain cancer since November 2021. In less than four weeks, the Club had surpassed its goal of $25,000 raised to help the family with increased costs since the devastating diagnosis (donations are still being accepted at this link). Michele is mother to the couple’s three young children — Gemma, Gia and Matteo.
“It’s been overwhelming and we’re so thankful to everyone who donated, from our very own Club members and supporters to complete strangers who were moved by the story and felt compelled to help,” said Ben-Bay Kiwanis Club President Thomas Aellis. “We can’t wait to deliver this money directly to Reno, Michele and the kids and to let them know that they are loved and appreciated by so many.”
Several members of the Club are planning to attend a benefit event in Staten Island next week to show their support for the family. The event is taking place March 8 “on the avenue” at the Richmond County Yacht Club, 142 Mansion Ave., at 6:30 p.m. The fundraising dinner is being organized by members of Engine 284, Ladder 149, including Firefighter Mike Sapia, who brought Genovese’s story to the Kiwanians back in February.
The event will feature dinner, drinks and raffles. Admission is $80 per person and limited tickets are still available at the door.
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In other Ben-Bay Kiwanis news, the Club is currently hosting another special fundraiser in the spirit of the NCAA’s March Madness tournament to raise funds to benefit children in need.
Proceeds from last year’s effort directly impacted a young boy named Brandon who has been battling a debilitating muscular disease since birth, organizers said.
When Club members discovered — through a letter written to Santa Claus at board member Joe Mure’s Little North Pole event in December 2020 —that the family was in need of a specialized therapy bicycle to help Brandon gain strength in his legs so that he might one day fulfill his dream of walking and being able to kick a soccer ball, they created this March Madness-themed fundraiser to help. Thanks to its success, the Club was able to purchase the bicycle and deliver it to the boy’s home on his birthday in May 2021.
Brandon rode the bicycle every day and continued working toward his goal, even riding over to greet the Kiwanians at their booth at this past October’s Third Avenue Festival. In January 2022, his family sent Ben-Bay Kiwanis a video of Brandon finally walking — a dream come true!
“Please help us so we can continue to help special children like Brandon,” Club officials said. “Help us make miracles, save lives and make dreams come true!”
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Irish eyes must have been smiling this week after catching a glimpse of the beautiful shamrock-shaped lights lining Third Avenue in anticipation of the upcoming Bay Ridge St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Set to entertain bystanders “on the avenue” once again following a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the parade steps off on Sunday, March 27 at 1 p.m. from the corner of Marine Avenue and Third Avenue. Grand Marshal Linda Gallagher-Lomanto will lead the parade along Third Avenue, joined by her deputies and members of the parade committee, including President Denise Frederick.
It promises to be an enjoyable day for all. In the meantime, enjoy the lights as you dine and shop on Third Avenue all month long. Erin go Bragh!
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Investors are “Citizens” too.
A recent walk “on the avenue” revealed that Citizens Bank has indeed moved into Bay Ridge — replacing the former HSBC Bank at 9201 Third Ave. — and it appears that the neighborhood’s newest resident is here to stay.
Following its recent acquisition of all of HSBC’s east coast branches, it was reported last week that Citizens Financial has purchased 154 branches of Investors Bank at a cost of $3.5 billion. This includes branches located at 8724 Fourth Ave., 7826 Fifth Ave. and 7123 Third Ave. Assuming all three locations remain open following the transition, that’s a lot of new “Citizens” ready to do business in Bay Ridge.