Pictured above (from left) are: Matthew Avellino, Amanda Chirco, Mark DeBenedittis, Dennis deChiara, Timothy Juliano, Thomas O’Hara, Jack Louro, Alex Porto, Alan Nahmias, Erik Rappel, Jason Smolansky, Kevin Santacroce, Daniel Castellano, Jonathan Singer, Frank Tedeschi, Jake Watral, MaryAnn Cervoni-Iaia, Anthony Viola, Joseph Serpe, Troy Caruso, Thomas Watral, Kevin O’Connor, Larry McCrann, Anthony Laurino, and Douglas Manditch. Photo credit: Gill Associates Photography.
Holbrook, NY The Suffolk County Office of Cooley’s Anemia Foundation (CAF) held its 49th Annual Gift of Life Ball and recognized Stalco Construction president Alan Nahmias as the 2018 Man of the Year. The reception, which took place at Villa Lombardi’s catering hall, brought together over 300 supporters and raised more than $360,000 for individuals suffering from Cooley’s anemia, a group of genetic blood disorders also known as thalassemia.
“Tonight’s event recognizes the struggles of individuals and families who face daily life with a serious genetic disease. It is our duty as neighbors and professionals to assist those in need, especially those as vulnerable as thalassemia sufferers. I am incredibly honored and humbled by the 2018 Humanitarian of the Year recognition from the Suffolk County Office of the Cooley’s Anemia Foundation,” said Nahmias.
“I cannot think of a person more deserving of this year’s title of the Humanitarian of the Year. The 2018 Gift of Life Ball was the celebration of the exemplary civic spirit exhibited by Alan Nahmias and by all of the Cooley’s Anemia Foundation’s volunteers and supporters,” said Joseph Serpe, the ball’s general chairman.
“The funds raised at this year’s Gift of Life Ball will be used for research. Babies born with Cooley’s Anemia disorder require a blood transfusion every two to four weeks and often do not live a normal, quality life. Since 1971, we have lost over 50 thalassemia patients between the ages of two and 35 in Suffolk County. Recent research has given us the hope to eliminate the blood transfusions thereby, in essence, leading patients to a normal life expectancy. Alan’s dedication and devotion to the patients and parents was an inspiration to everyone on the committee,” said Anthony Laurino, Cooley’s Anemia Foundation’s Suffolk County development director.
Nahmias is the co-founder and president of Stalco Construction, co-founder of Contractors For Kids charity, a devoted single father of two incredible young men, and a tireless champion of those in need, especially the families of children coping with serious illnesses. In 2005, Nahmias co-founded Contractors For Kids, an organization focused on providing help to families in financial crises due to an illness of a child. Supported by hundreds of Long Island construction, architecture, finance, and other professionals, to date the organization has raised over $3 million and assisted more than 500 families.
Named after the American pediatrician and hematologist Thomas B. Cooley, Cooley’s anemia is an inherited disorder of hemoglobin synthesis and is the most severe form of beta-thalassemia. It is marked by severe anemia associated with deficient hemoglobin and accelerated red cell destruction. The disorder’s symptoms include failure to grow in the first two years of life and poor growth rate afterwards, enlargement of the liver and spleen, bone deformities, and impaired physical activity. Treatment of this condition involves lifelong regular blood transfusions and iron chelation therapy.
Established in 1954, the Cooley’s Anemia Foundation is dedicated to serving people afflicted with various forms of thalassemia, most notably the major form of this genetic blood disease, Cooley’s anemia, also known as thalassemia major. The organization’s mission is advancing the treatment and cure for this fatal blood disease, enhancing the quality of life of patients and educating the medical profession, trait carriers and the public about Cooley’s anemia.
The Foundation’s Suffolk County Office is located at 740 Smithtown Bypass in Smithtown, New York. It was established in 1971 and to date has raised over $16 million to assist thalassemia sufferers in the region.