By PETE FONTAINE
Members of the Cal Calabro-led Goodfellas Motorcycle Club weren’t about to let Sunday’s scorching sun stand in their way as they raised money for Banner Topp, 5, of Wakefield, who is battling the disease known as ROHHAD.
The condition, known as rapid-onset obesity with hypothalamic dysregulation, hypoventiliation and autonomic dysregulation, does not have a cure.
The same thing held true for the Blue Knights Motorcycle Club, made up mostly of active and retired law enforcement officers who are well known for assisting numerous charities as well as providing color guards and leading funerals processions for veterans and more.
Likewise, “Friends of the Topps” set up countless plates of specially made “sweet stuff” such cakes, cookies and pastry on four 8-foot banquet tables and outnumbered the many impressive raffle items that ranged from a variety of liquor baskets to a 42-inch television.
“This is hospitality at its all-time best,” several bikers said prior to registering for Sunday’s run, which started and finished – after a trek around south shore beaches – at the famed Kelley-Gazzerro VFW Post 2812 on Plainfield Pike on the Cranston-Johnston line. Upwards of 120 people enjoyed an Italian buffet with all the trimmings from chefs Greg and David Spirito of Spirito’s Restaurant fame.
Perhaps even more impressive, as one leather-best clad biker said while adjusting his mask: “This heat doesn’t even compare to what that little boy and his father and grandfather have to endured every day; it’s all about Banner today and we want to make this even as safe and successful as possible.”
Among the 50 motorcycles taking part in the event were two spiffy bikes ridden by Kevin Lombardi and AJ Grenier. The event also featured a sleek new Chevrolet Corvette and ’55 Bel Air Convertible, which helped riders keep hydrated with water and drinks along the route. Revenue came in form of registration fees as well as proceeds from the bake sale and the post-run dinner.
Likewise, there was a check in the amount of $500 from Veterans Inc. that was presented by noted VFW official Adam DeCiccio, as well as a $250 donation from LiUNA, Local 808. Those donations and others will be used to help Banner in his ongoing battle with ROHHAD, for which there is no cure.
“My sincere thanks to the fantastic committee, VFW and DAV volunteers, DJ Tony ‘The Dream’ Weaver, bikers and everyone that made this the happiest birthday of my life,” said Albert Topp, Banner’s grandfather, who was serenaded with a special 62nd birthday song during the post-run dinner. “Thank goodness there are still generous and caring people like you folks in our world. May God bless each and everyone one of you – forever!”
Thus, Albert Topp – who is a proud U.S. Army veteran – and his son Corey proceeded to thank each and every person inside the air-conditioned VFW Post individually for their efforts on a hot and humid Sunday that the long-serving VFW-DAV volunteer extraordinaire proclaimed as “one of the most impressive acts of human kindness I’ve ever been associated with.”
Members of the committee who helped make the event a smashing success were Chuck Palumbo, Michael Miele, Paul D’Abbraccio, Ray Tanguay, Aime Grenier, Joan Fontaine, Maija Hill, Rachel D’Ambrosio, Jackie Brodeur and Joanne Silva. Albert and Corey Topp also recognized “the super staff from Spirito’s Restaurant who made today’s even extra special in so many ways.”