RONKONKOMA - Hundreds of Long Islanders were moved to action after hearing about two baby brothers from Centereach who suffer from the same debilitating disease, and the boys' parents now say they are overwhelmed with gratitude.
As News 12 Long Island has reported, a benefit event was held in Ronkonkoma today for 2-year-old Nicholas and 16-month-old Tyler Accardi, who have both been diagnosed with Type 2 spinal muscular atrophy.
The disease affects all of their voluntary muscle movements. Nicholas and Tyler cannot crawl or stand, and their doctors say they will never be able to walk. They require daily therapy, and they will both need powered wheelchairs to get around.
News 12 spoke to the family yesterday. The boys' parents, Nick and ToniAnn Accardi, said they were holding the fundraiser today to raise money to make their home wheelchair-accessible, so their boys could live more comfortably.
The day after their story aired, the fundraiser got underway, and the room they rented at the Clarion Hotel was quickly packed to capacity. The turnout far exceeded the Accardis' expectations. Stranger after stranger walked through the door to give the family generous donations.
"I'm so touched, its almost hard to keep myself together through all of it," said ToniAnn Accardi.
The money raised today will help install a ramp and widen hallways at the Accardis' home. It will also help cover the costs of much-needed medical equipment.
The family has also been approached by contractors who have offered to help out with some of the work.