Amid the flashing lights and pounding music at GLO Nightclub in Westbury, the Bellmore community came together to help one of their own as he travels the long and hard road to recovery.
In September of 2007, Danny Walsh was riding his motorcycle south on Newbridge Road coming from Hempstead Turnpike when a car cut him off, according to his brother Tom.
"The cops said Danny wasn't speeding ... he didn't have time to turn," he said. "He hit the car and took the whole impact."
Tom said that the consequences for Danny, both physical and mental, were tragic.
"The physical injuries were unreal," he said. "Broken bones through the skin -- both legs and arms. His left arm was almost severed. ... The physical injuries he did very well recovering from, but brain injuries are somewhat irreversible."
Tom says that while Danny has difficulty with motor control, speech and short-term memory, he still remains aware and alert. Danny's lifetime of memories from before the accident remains intact.
"Now he's home with a full-time aide," he said. "But he continues to make progress ... he keeps surprising us."
Unfortunately, according to Danny's mother, Linda, the family eventually ran into insurance issues that began to limit Danny's care and rehabilitation. Danny had private insurance from the Sheet Metal Worker's Union he was in, but he was cut off after not being able to pay into, so his family got Medicaid for him.
"But after being on it for two years, they told us that we had to get Medicare instead, which takes money out of his Social Security, Linda said. "However, they limit how much therapy Danny can have."
With Danny's coverage curtailed, the Walsh family had to find a way to make up the difference in order to sustain his level of care and provide for his specialized needs, including a handicapped van to accommodate his wheelchair and specialized forms of therapy, including physical and speech. This is where the idea of a fundraiser came to be.
Monday's fundraiser at GLO is the third event that the Walsh family has held and Tom hopes it to be their most successful yet.
"We held one in December of 2007, two months after his accident," he said. "We did great -- about 1,000 people, and I think we raised about $55,000. We had a smaller one about two years later, which drew about 600 people -- that one raised about $20,000."
GLO owner John Smythe was more than happy to open his nightclub’s doors for a good cause.
“Tom used to work here about 10 years ago. ... We’re friends of the family here,” he said. “People make donations at the door, we hold raffles, and all proceeds from the bar tonight go the Walsh family."
Tom said that social networking through sites such as Facebook and Twitter has really helped to get the word out about the fundraisers and the resulting supporters for Danny really means a great deal to the Walsh family.
"It feels good that all these people want to come out and help," he said. "So, we're going to show them a good time, have a party, and put the money to a good cause."
“This is wonderful,” Linda Walsh said. “The first fundraiser was right after his accident, and it was almost too much. Now, I can just enjoy it.”