This NHRC charity is another that deals with the needs surrounding cancer.

 

Another local charity that received a donation from the North Haven Rotary Club in mid-July was founded by Toni Lynn Fracasso in memory of her very athletic brother, Donald Perrotti.  After a six year battle with Ewings Sarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer, the Hamden resident lost his fight at age 22 in 1999.  Since there were remaining funds that had been collected to help offset her brother’s major medical costs, Toni said the balance was used as seed money to start Don’s Hat Rack, a cause set up at Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital that seeks to help youth stricken by cancer, including support for their families.

Some of the money is used to purchase videos for the children to watch during their many hours of treatment. Other dollars go for hats to hide the loss of their hair, a side effect of certain treatments. Still, more contributions are used to assist families with financial need. This direct aid has included assistance with utility bills, the purchase of food, and even to obtain Christmas gifts for the siblings of the children who are ill. Obviously, prolonged illness requires lengthy and costly treatment which may force a parent to drop employment to care for the sick child. Because of this reduction of overall family income, the charity attempts to help where possible.

Since the spring of 2005, one particularly successful annual fundraiser has been a motorcycle rally, selected since Don had been an avid motorcycle rider. This past June, the rally originated in Hamden and ended in West Haven with a huge cookout for all of the participants, as well as their family and friends.  The speaker emphasized that the rally actually provides a venue for the donors to meet some of the children who benefit from their support. Don’s Hat Rack reportedly received $30,000 from this year’s rally. The North Haven Rotary Club’s President Elect, Nick D’Ambrosia, presented Toni with a check to help her to continue her invaluable work.