Dell’Abate stars at fund-raiser for AIDS awareness

From left, Chris Harris, board president for the Young Professionals Group, Crystal Reinwald, chair of the Red Ribbon Foundation’s Junior Board and a member of the YPG, Red Ribbon’s Executive Director Nicole Hazard, Gary Dell’Abate and Mary Dell’Abate, pose at the event. — Ken Borsuk photo

From left, Chris Harris, board president for the Young Professionals Group, Crystal Reinwald, chair of the Red Ribbon Foundation’s Junior Board and a member of the YPG, Red Ribbon’s Executive Director Nicole Hazard, Gary Dell’Abate and Mary Dell’Abate, pose at the event.
— Ken Borsuk photo

Many Greenwich residents pride themselves on being serious collectors and appreciators of art but a night at the gallery last week was also a chance to benefit two local groups.

The Greenwich Young Professionals Group (YPG) teamed up with the Red Ribbon Foundation to host a night of “art and awareness” at the Fernando Luis Alvarez Gallery at 96 Bedford Street in Stamford. Like the typical YPG functions, there was an excellent chance for people to get together and network, but this one had an extra meaning because of the Red Ribbon Foundation’s mission to support charities working to fight HIV and AIDS.

To that end the speaker of the evening was Greenwich resident Gary Dell’Abate, a man known locally as well for his work as a coach and town volunteer as he is as the executive producer for The Howard Stern Show. Mr. Dell’Abate lost a brother to AIDS in 1991 and has been working closely recently with the Greenwich-based Red Ribbon Foundation to make sure young people are educated about the disease.

Mr. Dell’Abate, who formed his own organization Lifebeat to provide AIDS and safe sex education at concerts for major musical acts, said that he was alarmed from speaking to young people and realizing that many of them believe AIDS is either cured or not a risk to them. He shared the story of his brother Steven and the fear and uncertainty that surrounded the beginnings of the disease while stressing the importance of education to make sure people know that while AIDS may now be managed through a lot of medication, it can and should be absolutely avoided.

The YPG is a group of business professionals from town committed to networking and outreach, and this is not the first time it has worked with the Red Ribbon Foundation. The event allowed for funds to be raised that will be sent to other charities working on HIV and AIDS. Tickets for the event benefited the foundation as did a raffle of items such as golf clubs and bottles of wine signed by Mr. Dell’Abate.

James Parker, a founding member as well as co-chair of the YPG, told the Post they were glad to have the opportunity to help. Crystal Reinwald, a member of the Red Ribbon Foundation and the YPG, was the driving force in putting it all together.

“It’s a very good thing that we’re able to go out and create awareness of this cause,” Mr. Parker said. “It came together very well for us and it’s good to see people here having a good time, enjoying the art and a chance to interact while still listening to a very serious message. Any time you can talk about an important cause like this and raise awareness you want to be able to do anything you can to help.”

More images of the event will be available online Monday at Greenwich-post.com. More information is available at Redribbonfoundation.org and Greenwichypg.com.

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