Baseball has always been a game of passion and hard work. On the field, players defy the human imagination with their feats of glory. However on the field accomplishments can only go so far. Life off the field brings about greater challenges and often even greater outcomes.
Chris Scandaglia of Staten Island is one of the great human beings whose work off the field is greater than the mind can comprehend. Scandaglia, an insurance professional for Allstate, has dedicated the better part of eight years to charity work. The charity he fights for is ALS, (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) commonly known to the world as Lou Gehrig’s disease. However to Scandaglia, the disease is commonly known as the illness that took his grandfather’s life nearly 23 years ago.
“I was nine when it happened,” said Scandaglia, referring to his grandfather’s death on December 26th 1990, the day after Christmas. “I looked up to my grandfather and always wanted to honor him. This charity is the perfect way I can honor his legacy.”
Scandaglia began the charity in 2006 after discussing with his boss at a previous job ways to improve sales.
“I suggested that for a month, we donate one dollar of every insurance quote made to raise money for ALS,” said Scandaglia. “My boss said go for it and we did it.”
Many of Scadaglia’s co-workers got involved that year and an ironic amount of money was donated.
“We earned $2130 in 2006, the same number as Lou Gehrig’s 2130 consecutive games played streak,” recalled Scandaglia.
From there the charity grew. Scandaglia wanted to do more for ALS research and came up with the idea to help families in need. In 2010, Scandaglia continued his work by holding a fundraiser dinner in honor of his grandfather. It was then he got the idea to make the dinner as popular as possible. He began to contact different agents, including those from the New York Yankees, to see if they would be willing to attend the dinner. As it turned out, the Yankees brought their 2009 World Series trophy to the event. However that wasn’t the only time the Yankees contributed to Scandaglia’s event.
“I made calls and ended up getting some great responses,” said Scandaglia. “Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano came to the dinner in 2012. It was an amazing experience I’ll never forget.”
How does someone get famous Yankees like Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano to attend a fundraiser? According to Scandaglia, it takes “a lot of hard work and patience.” Scandaglia said Alex Rodriguez wouldn’t attend at first under he convinced A-Rod’s agent that it would be a good PR move to come.
It doesn’t matter how Rodriguez got there. What matters is the hard work Scandaglia puts into this charity. He does it by himself every year with no help from anyone.
“Sometimes my family thinks I’m crazy for spending the amount of time I do on this event,” said Scandaglia. “I know it’s worth it. I’m doing something that helps a lot of people.”
In 2012, Scandaglia decided to raise money for a family who suffered due to ALS. He found out Joanna Chiarulli of New York had lost her husband to ALS and sought to dedicate his fundraiser dinner for them.
“In 2012, we raised $10,310 for Joanna and her six month old son Nicholas,” Scandaglia said with a lot of pride in his voice. “It made me happy that the fundraiser was able to help them.”
A good amount of Yankees came to the 2013 event, including Boone Logan, Lyle Overbay, David Phelps and Chris Stewart. The 2013 event was in honor of the Hill family. Bill Hill lost his wife to ALS in on December 29th 2012. Scandaglia was thrilled the 2013 event raised $4612 and hopes the 2014 event will go just as well. There is a special reason why Scandaglia has high hopes for the upcoming event.
“The event for 2014 will be held on May 25, my grandfather’s birthday.” said Scandaglia. “I picked the day to honor hm because he was the reason I started this charity in the first place.”
Long Island Baseball Magazine encourages all of it’s viewers to attend this year’s fundraiser dinner on May 25th 2014 at Da Noi restaurant in Manhattan. More details on the event will be posted on Long Island Baseball Magazine’s website. The cost of the event is $125, with all proceeds going to families who have suffered from ALS. Long Island Baseball Magazine thanks Chris Scandaglia for his efforts and hopes all of the New York community will attend and support this great cause!
For anyone who wants to attend the event or has questions on the event, please contact Chris Scandaglia at CSFGEHRIG@aol.com or on twitter @ChrisScandaglia