Former legends of the NY Jets got together to help raise money for The Testaverde Spinal Cord Foundation in honor of Dan Farkas.
Right before we were all inside weathering the latest storm of the century to hit the East coast, let me tell you about an event I was fortunate enough to be a part of this past Thursday evening. Held at Villa Lombardi’s in Holbrook out on the Island, the Testaverde Spinal Cord Foundation presented a fundraiser for Jets fan and neighbor Dan Farkas.
The night was a major success with the fun and flavor of a pregame tailgate (only in fancy clothes!). Over 200 people attended, met some of our favorite Jets alumni and enjoyed good food, a Las Vegas night and bidding on live auction items presented by the irrepressible Greg Buttle.
In April of 2015, Farkas was in an accident when he lost control on a wet road trying to avoid hitting a deer. He instead hit a tree and then a farm stand blocks away from his home in Oakdale. The accident resulted in a serious spinal cord injury.
Dan’s wife, Debbie, and children, Zach and Alexandra, had to quickly learn how to use various respiratory equipment to care for the man whom has taken care of them for so long. He has no independent movement, needs assistance to cough and often needs to be placed on a ventilator to sleep through the night. However, the family was told their insurance plan does not cover custodial care or the available technology for Dan and his family to lead a more fulfilling life.
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It was suggested to Debbie that she reach out to family and friends to meet his needs.
An aide is critical to for the family, so she can continue to work as a 5th grade teacher at the Half Hollow Hills School District to support the family. Zach can focus on his Senior year at Connetquot High School and Alexandra on her studies at Suffolk Community College.
She is also working full time at Long Island Surgery Center, with the hopes of one day becoming an Optometrist like her Dad.
Debbie soon created a Facebook page, Dan Farkas Support Team. One day, Rita Buttle, Debbie’s cousin, was sharing the story with one of her friends, Jane Schlossman. Jane had done some work for the Testaverde Spinal Cord Foundation and felt they would be able to help the family. Anthony Testeverde, Vinny’s cousin, immediately reached out to Debbie and offered to help organize a Vegas Night Fundraiser.
Buttle immediately volunteered to run the event and then gathered teammates (Bobby Jackson, Richard Caster, Wesley Walker and Marty Lyons) and friends to come out to recognize and give support. Many of the his teammates heavily promoted the cause. Walker contacted the Jets Army TV with DJ CHEF & Crazy Chrissy (Marc Weiss & Chrissy Bogue) JetsArmyTV.com. They immediately wanted to help provide entertainment. Part of Jets Army TV’s mission is to help out our extended Jets family in need.
Jan 21, 2016; Photo property and taken by Hillary Garza for TheJetPress.com
In addition through Walker, Claudio Juarez, founder of Gotham City Crew and TheJetPress.com jumped aboard to help promote the Fundraiser. Many others were there to show support and love, because that is what Jet life is about – you become family and help one another in times of need. No questions asked.
Buttle volunteering gave Farkas a clarity and sense of excitement that his family haven’t seen since before the accident, and as he says:
“It showed Thursday night. Dan has always loved football. He has a tradition of watching every Monday Night Football with his friends and attended the Super Bowl for almost 20 consecutive years. He started following the Jets more closely once Rita and Greg were married. However, his favorite Super Bowl trip was February 2006, when our son Zachary was finally old enough to attend. Dan wouldn’t want to be there with anyone else in the world!”
All and all, it was a great night and I was happy to be a part of it, coming together with fellow Jets fans and alumni for a great cause.
If you were not able to attend, no worries! People can continue to support the cause by donating to the following address:
Dan Farkas Support Team15 Sharon Drive, Patchogue NY 11772