The Queens Chapter of the Cooley’s Anemia Foundation held its annual Good
Friday Dinner Dance last week, honoring Michael Bimonte, first deputy
commissioner for the Department of Sanitation.
Held at Russo’s on the Bay in Howard Beach, the event began in 199 to raise funds
and awareness for the cause. Cooley’s Anemia is an inherited blood disease, and
can prove fatal for some patients. The foundation provides outreach and
treatment programs for the inflicted, working towards the ultimate goal of a cure.
The Cooley’s Anemia Foundation was founded in 1954 by Frank Ficarra, whose two
sons were afflicted by the disease. Ficarra, a businessman, began holding
meetings and blood drives in Brooklyn, giving the foundation its start.
“Since it’s inception, the foundation has grown into a national and international
cause, with an extraordinary record of accomplishments, benefiting patients in
Queens County, as well as throughout the world,” said Ronald Cohen, who was the
2007 Man of the Year and served as the evening’s master of ceremonies.
Those in attendance enjoyed fine dining on delicacies such as oysters, calamari
and even a roast pig. There was dancing to be had, along with a raffle, including
Mets tickets and a diamond Michele watch. On hand to sing “God Bless America”
was recording artist and Brooklyn native Jaylyn Ducati.
Bimonte has worked with the foundation since 1992. His first venture was helping
to raise money via a softball game with the Corrections Department, raising around
$10,000. Bimonte began working for the Department of Sanitation in 1970, and
initially retired in 1998. He came out of retirement in 2002, helping to close the
Fresh Kills Landfill among other duties.
“I feel very, very honored. This is one of the hardest working foundations, and a
foundation that’s about family. From the very beginning, it started out with a family,
and it’s grown into what you have today,” said Bimonte.
Those interested in learning more, or in making a donation, can go to thalassemia.
Working toward a cure
by Robert Emrich , Chronicle Contributor
Michael Bimonte, left, was honored for his contributions to the fight
against a deadly blood disorder. Here he is congratulated by 2007
honoree Ronald Cohen. (photo by Robert Emrich)