News Flash

Legislative District 11

Posted on: April 17, 2024

“Cooking For A Cure” Fundraiser Honoring Collura Family Raises Over $45,000 For Diabetes Research

DeRiggi-Whitton - DRI Dinner 1

(BAYVILLE, N.Y). – More than 175 people packed Bayville’s Crescent Beach Club on Wednesday, April 10 for the 18th annual “Cooking for a Cure” fundraiser – an event which raised more than $45,000 in support of the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation.

East Rockaway’s Ronald and Rachel Collura, the owners of Arata’s Deli and Caterers in Sea Cliff since 2003, were honored alongside their family for their collective contributions to DRI’s pursuit of a cure. But one of the youngest Colluras – their four-year-old grandson Giovanni – stole the spotlight and the hearts of all in attendance.

Known as “Gio” by his family, he was diagnosed with type 1 (juvenile) diabetes as an infant after suffering a bout of the flu and being taken to the hospital. Soon after the diagnosis, they met Nassau County Legislature Minority Leader Delia DeRiggi-Whitton, a Diabetes Research Institute Long Island board member and Cooking for a Cure co-chair with Rebecca Castronovo who has helped to raise over $1 million toward research for a cure since her daughter, Amanda, was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at age 3. During a discussion about septic system rebates for the deli, Ron shared Gio’s story – and the rest, as they say, is history.

“Because of that connection, Gio – this is your party tonight!” DeRiggi-Whitton said, calling Gio up to present flowers to his mother and grandmother during the festivities. “When Gio was diagnosed, his mom was concerned. She spent about an hour and a half on the phone with my daughter, Amanda. And when I heard Amanda speak to her, I knew I did something right – she was so comforting. It’s the circle of life. Someone did that for me, and now she did for someone else.”

Gio’s buoyant energy throughout the evening was in and of itself a beacon of hope – proof that a normal, fulfilling life with diabetes is attainable and a cure is within reach. The pursuit of a cure got a major boost when the event’s major sponsors, Roberta and Bruce Waller, agreed to underwrite all the costs associated with staging the event, meaning that 100 percent of the night’s proceeds would go to the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation.

In addition to the Waller family’s remarkable contribution of underwriting the dinner, generous support came from Top Chef Sponsors the Collura family; Garfunkel Wind; S. Paolillo and Sons, Inc.; the Whitton-Valicenti family; and Keith Way in memory of Jennifer Way; Master Chef sponsors Kim and John Keiserman; Master Chef Junior Sponsors Catholic Health; Cheryl Benton and Roni Jenkins (The Three Tomatoes); Men on the Move Moving & Self Storage; People Need Caring, Inc; Polin, Prisco & Villafane; Sea Cliff-Glen Head Lions; Lux House Hunters; Susan Valentine and Stacy McKenna of Valentine & Company; Comite Civico Argentino; Westbury Florist; State Farm’s John Perrone Agency; Glen Cove Mayor Pam and Bob Panzenbeck and Art Pushkin. Proceeds were further boosted by attendees’ taking their chances on winning more than 60 raffle prizes that were up for grabs during the event.

DeRiggi-Whitton - DRI Dinner 2

PHOTO CREDITS – Photos by Peter M. Budraitis

Facebook Twitter Email

Other News in Legislative District 11

Thanking Port's First Responders

Posted on: July 6, 2021