Written by Margaret Whitely Friday, 02 October 2009 00:00
In 1989, 20 years ago, close friends of Daniel and Michael Conner, founders of the Gladiator Fund, Chris and Kate Butz gave birth to a baby boy, Chris.
There were complications at birth and the baby suffered multiple medical problems requiring immediate intervention by many members of the hospital staff.
When little Chris was 3 years old, all of the Butz’s friends, the New Hyde Park community and the Alumni of New Hyde Park Memorial High School held a Benefit Dinner Dance in the Spring of ’90 at the Knights of Columbus Hall in New Hyde Park to raise money to help pay for the ongoing treatments and therapy for Christopher.
At the event, 240 friends and family members turned out for a special child in the community and were able to raise $5,000 to donate toward his treatment.
At the event, both Daniel and “Mickey” Conner were approached by several other parents in New Hyde Park who had disabled children. They asked if they could be assisted and at that moment the Gladiator Fund was born.
Since then the Gladiator Fund has grown and has held a Dinner Dance or Golf Outing benefiting 30 disabled children in New Hyde Park.
This year, the honoree for the William Kelly Golf Outing was Michael D’Onofrio, a six-year-old who is suffering from autism. Coincidentally, his aunt, Lucy D’Onofrio, is the supervisor of the Page Design Department at Anton Community Newspapers.
The outing was extremely successful and raised $6,000 for Michael.