UPDATED: David Spizuoco passed away at the age of 42 on Jan. 25, 2012. A funeral mass was held at the Church of the immaculate Conception on Jan.29.
Facing the unthinkable, Westhampton Beach resident David Spizuoco, has found strength and hope in a loving circle of family and friends who will rally to support him this weekend as he fights a deadly disease.
On Saturday, from 7 to 11 p.m. crowds are expected to turn out for a fund-raiser at the Boardy Barn in Hampton Bays to raise money to help defray costs of outfitting Spizuoco’s home with a wheelchair-accessible bathroom, ramp and hospital bed.
Spizuoco, a father of three children, Own, 7, Alex, 5, and Henry, 1, noticed something was wrong when he started slurring his speech about a year ago. He went to the doctor only to hear a grim diagnosis — he has bulbar amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
ALS disease, which has no cure, slowly leaves victims incapacitated, taking their ability to speak, swallow and move in later stages.
With the diagnosis, Spizuoco, who worked as a lineman for Verizon, has been told he has only three to five years to live.
Despite seemingly overwhelming challenges, Ellen Spizuoco, Spizuoco’s sister-in-law, says Spizuoco’s wife of nine years, Tabitha, has done her best to keep life as normal as possible for their three children.
“They have struggled with it, but have been open and honest with the children,” she said. “At the same time, they are trying to process it.”
Ellen says Tabitha also has great support.
“She has wonderful circle of friends, who have helped her,” said Ellen.
Her friends, said Ellen, who lives in California, did most of the work putting together the fund-raiser, which will also feature a 50/50 raffle, a Chinese auction, the band, Buttered Soul, and MC/DJ Howie Weinman.
Tickets are $40; Ellen hopes they will generate between $20,000 to $30,ooo, which is needed to renovate the family’s home to include a handicap-accessible bathroom; the Spizuocos also need a van that can accommodate a wheelchair, a hospital bed and to pay for trips to the city for medical treatments.
“Insurance does not cover those items, said Ellen.
For more information on the fund-raiser, click here.