On Saturday, Sept. 6 at Walk Street Tavern in New Hyde Park, a community of people gathered to help support a little boy, my son Ethan. Ethan has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), a devastating disease, and when I first shared the news, wave after wave of people offered their love and support in incalculable ways. On this day, our family was blessed by Ride for Ethan.
Kyle Vidasolo and J.R. Alonzo are two amazing young men who have been training to make the 237-mile ride at high altitude along the Grand Canyon to raise awareness and funds to help make Ethan’s future as bright as possible. With the help of Anthony D’Amico, Emily Coughlin, Carly Sheehan and several others, these young men were able celebrate their upcoming event in the company of the Floral Park Memorial community with an afternoon food, fun and drink. I want to say thank you for this wonderful day.
I want to say thank you to all of the amazing alumni and current Floral Park Memorial (FPM) High School students who have shown their support, both on this day and throughout the past year. Seeing so many of you at this event validated the hopes I held for your futures and your successes. Being able to sit with you and hear your stories was one of my favorite parts of the event. You reflect brilliantly on your community, your parents, and you are a source of pride for us all.
I want to say thank you to all of the amazing parents who made and raised these incredible children. You have helped us just by being loving, supportive, and stalwart parents to these young people who are clearly some of FPM’s finest. However, you have done so much more than that. So many of the FPM moms and dads have reached out to us directly offering love and support. You have opened your arms and your hearts to us and have made this challenge a lot less lonely for my wife, Betsy, and me. Sitting and sharing laughs and hugs with you was another highlight of the night for me. I only wish I could hug and thank all of the parents who have reached out to us. We love you. We love your children. And we thank you.
I want to say thank you to my immediate FPM family, the faculty and staff who I see everyday. You are the people who make the practical day-to-day living with Duchenne as easy as it can be. You have organized events, handed me tissues, and brought me joy everyday. If fact, the first thing that one of you said to me after I shared the news about Ethan was,
“Think of how he will touch all of those people,” and from what I have seen from the outpouring of the FPM community, and many other communities, she was right in ways far greater than I could have imagined.
At events like this, Betsy and I look around and see people celebrating life in the name of Ethan and all of the boys struggling with DMD. This makes us happy and it gives us hope.
We are grateful for the chance to feel the warm and comforting embrace of the Floral Park Memorial community. Thank you, for giving us everything. And thank you, Ride for Ethan, for a great and memorable day.
— Dustin Demmers
Editor’s note: Jules (J.R.) Alonzo reported that the Ride For Ethan benefit at Walk Street Tavern raised $2,800. Visit www.gofundme.com/rideforethan for more information and to help donate to the cause.