HOPE FOR CHILDREN FOUNDATION HONORS LOCAL HEROES FOR SAVING LIFE OF MIDDLETOWN BOY
All-Volunteer Organization Raises $180,000 for Area Families in Need at 9th Annual Gala
For Immediate Release
LONG BRANCH –Mike Doherty will forever be connected with Bob McCann and Rob DeStefano. Doherty’s son, Michael “MikeyD” Doherty was playing basketball at Tindall Park in Middletown last September when he suddenly had a severe heart attack and collapsed near the end of practice. McCann and DeStefano, who were called Mikey D’s “guardian angels” by his dad, sprang into action and performed CPR until an ambulance could arrive.
The three men were reunited at the Hope for Children Foundation (HFCF) 9th Annual Gala, where MikeyD was the honoree and McCann and DeStefano received awards for their heroism. The March 16th event raised more than $180,000 for the Holmdel-based all-volunteer organization, but the most poignant moment of the evening was Mike Doherty talking about MikeyD and the heroes that saved his life.
“MikeyD was near the end of his travel basketball practice on September 7th when he suddenly collapsed. His heart stopped for 35 minutes but someone up above was watching out for MikeyD and made sure his guardian angels were there to look over him,” an emotional Doherty said to the crowd of several hundred at the Ocean Place Resort. “Bob McCann and Rob DeStefano performed CPR on MikeyD for 22 minutes until the ambulance arrived and without a doubt saved my son’s life. Thank God they were there.”
Following the speech, McCann and DeStefano embraced Mike Doherty and other members of the family, and then were presented with awards from Holmdel Mayor Patrick Imprevaduto. The official plaques described the two men as heroes and congratulated them for their quick thinking and decisive action to save MikeyD’s life. Following the reading of the plaques, the large crowd broke into a standing ovation to congratulate the heroes and support the Doherty family.
Despite the heroic efforts which saved his life,MikeyD suffered a traumatic brain injury which has required constant medical care and ongoing rehabilitation. In addition to the heartache the Doherty family has had to endure the past six months, the expenses of treating MikeyD are overwhelming. The Doherty’s insurance thresholds have been reached, yet he is nowhere near a full recovery.
As news of MikeyD’s situation reached HFCF, the organization immediately adopted him as its main honoree at this year’s gala. A portion of the money raised at the event will go directly to the Doherty family to help offset the enormous expenses incurred for MikeyD’s ongoing treatment.
“Hope for Children Foundation is a great organization run by a great group of local professionals,” Doherty said. “From the Board of Directors to all of the supporters, thank you for making MikeyD the 9th Annual Gala honoree. I admire all of you and I am proud of all that you do for children in need in Monmouth County.”
HFCF also honored its inaugural “Volunteer of the Year” at the gala, Middletown resident Kristie Kane Curiazza. Curiazza has played an integral part of HFCF events for years but Hurricane Sandy elevated her role to another level.
In the immediate aftermath of the storm, Curiazza, who is a social worker in the Middletown Township School District, worked with HFCF Board Members and other volunteers to visit dozens of shelters and identify the desperate needs of various area communities. Once these needs were identified, Curiazza and team helped to serve as a liaison between these communities and relief organizations and helped to coordinate delivery of essentials. Within days, Curiazza was one of the main contacts for numerous community and county officials and played an essential role in assisting those most impacted by the storm.
“In the days after Sandy ravaged Monmouth County, I was working with the County Office of Emergency Management as they required assistance. At that point, I involved Kristie Kane Curiazza who became a vital contact with relief efforts” said Marybeth Walz, Vice President Hope for Children Foundation. “Kristie was a true leader during Super Storm Sandy and is a true community inspiration, donating countless hours each week for various charities. She has been an all-star for Hope for Children Foundation and inspired us to create the “Volunteer of the Year” award.”
HFCF’s 9th annual gala was a great success for the all-volunteer based organization. Through ticket sales, live and silent auctions and high-stakes raffles, HFCF raised more than $180,000. Because HFCF has no employee expenses, all of those funds will be distributed to Monmouth County area families in need or to charitable organizations that help children.
“We could not be more pleased with the results of our 9th Annual Gala,” said Eric Hinds, President, Hope for Children Foundation. “Words can’t express the appreciation we have for friends, neighbors and supporters who donate and attend this event year after year. The loyalty and generosity of our great support system allows Hope for Children Foundation to help so many area children in need.”
For more information on how to donate to, volunteer for or request assistance from Hope for Children Foundation, log onto www.hfcf.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Based in Holmdel, HFCF is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3)charitable organization of young professionals, entrepreneurs and parents in Monmouth and Ocean County working together to raise funds to make a difference in the lives of children and their families. HFCF was started with the simple goal of “getting together with family, friends and colleagues to make a difference in our community.”
On an annual basis HFCF identifies charitable organizations and individuals that will benefit from monies raised from various fundraisers. To date, HFCF has donatedclose to $2 million to local charities and families in need of assistance. Past beneficiaries have included K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Family Promise of Monmouth County, The Valerie Fund at Monmouth Medical Center, Greg Hickman Foundation, The ARC of Monmouth County, CASA of Monmouth County, YMCA, Middletown Helps its Own, and various families who have reached out for monetary assistance due to unfortunate circumstances.