SPRING HILL — Eleven years ago, Brian Hammond, a hairdresser, suffered critical injuries in a vehicle accident.
His employer of three years, Marie Galdorisi, staged a cut-a-thon fundraiser at her MGM Hair Studio to help defray his medical expenses. Grateful for the community outpouring, Hammond ever since has been a volunteer and fundraiser for those in need.
On Oct. 5, he gets his chance to personally pay back Galdorisi for her generosity, and he's going at it full bore.
Anthony Galdorisi Jr., 38, son of Anthony Sr. and Marie Galdorisi, suffered a stroke June 16 at the wheel of his mother's car as he was returning from a memorial service for his grandfather.
He had come from his home in San Diego for the service. The attack came about two blocks from his parents' home. His right side was suddenly paralyzed. He grazed a car, but finally managed with his left foot and left hand to manipulate the brake and gearshift, bringing the car to a stop.
The younger Galdorisi is finally able to navigate with a walker. He still can't speak. His right hand remains paralyzed. But his mother praises the progress as "a miracle." And much of the caregiving is the result of Hammond jumping in to help.
Hammond, designated as disabled from his own accident, volunteers weekly at Hernando-Pasco Hospice, cutting and styling hair for patients. He's done it for years. So, when Hammond sought help for Galdorisi, hospice responded. The agency lent a hospital bed, wheelchair, shower chair and commode for Galdorisi's stay at his parents' home.
The unstoppable Hammond approached HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital, and administrators told him they had a program for indigent patients. Galdorisi, a part-time delivery man and irrigation worker, has no health insurance. HealthSouth provided a month of in-house therapy and is continuing with outpatient rehabilitation.
Marie Galdorisi said her son's medical bills now run into "the hundreds of thousands." He has applied to Medicaid for financial assistance.
But Hammond isn't waiting for bureaucracy. He's gathered an army of volunteers to stage a multifaceted fundraiser for Galdorisi from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 5 in the parking lot outside MGM Hair Studio at Kagel's Korner on Mariner Boulevard.
Five beauty operators and two assistants will conduct a shampoo- and cut-a-thon, with all proceeds going to the Galdorisis. A donation of $15 per cut is suggested.
Vocalist Tommy Mara will perform, and DJ Mike D will provide recorded music. Freedom Ministries will serve up free hot dogs and hamburgers, but donations for them will be accepted.
Employees and clients of MGM will sell baked goods.
Area restaurants and other businesses have given coupons and items for a raffle.
Five-year-old Lorenzo Cirocco, the elder Galdorisis' grandson, will staff his lemonade stand, which raised $150 for Hammond's last fundraiser to aid a quadriplegic victim of a motorcycle wreck, Joel DeHaas. That event raised about $18,000 to buy a van to accommodate DeHaas in a high-top wheelchair.
Said Marie Galdorisi: "I have to be thankful it happened here rather than in California, to be here in such a caring community."
Beth Gray can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.