Neighbors attend dinner fundraiser to help Centereach family in need

More than 100 people came out to the Smithtown Elks Lodge Friday for a dinner fundraiser to help a neighbor in need.
Rob Bagnasco suffered a ruptured aorta in October 2017 changing his life significantly. The Centereach father of five spent more than 30 years working as a truck driver to support his family.

He has endured a series of medical setbacks over the past two years; including a stroke, brain swelling and seizures.

"I wish I could walk," Bagnasco says. "I can't do nothing no more. I was on top of the world. Now I'm down here."

Bagnasco's wife, Gigi is holding down three jobs while caring for her husband and daughters. She says it's become a hardship not being able to pay bills and trying to keep a house together by herself.

The family's friends helped organize the dinner to ease those burdens.

"The reason why we did the fundraiser is to see if we can get a minivan that is handicap-accessible, ramps put in his house, an electric wheelchair," says Marianna Sgroi, of Smithtown.

Businesses in the area donated more than 80 gift baskets for a raffle. The Smithtown Elks donated their lodge and food for the dinner.

Some in attendance didn't know the Bagnasco family, but said they wanted to help people in need.

The family say they are grateful by the showing of support.

"It's an awesome, awesome thing that so many people have such huge hearts out there," Gigi Bagnasco says.