A check for $8,000 was presented to the family of Ethan Ashcroft in City of Tonawanda Police Headquarters on Wednesday by Lou Piccone and the Buffalo Bills Alumni Association. The funds were the proceeds from a celebrity bartender fundraiser.
Three-year-old Ethan suffers from mitochondrial disease, a chronic and rare illness that strikes at the cellular level and may affect a variety of organs.
He is the grandson of City of Tonawanda Detective Joseph Scarpena. In February his fellow officers raised money for the boy by growing out their beards for the month. The story in The Buffalo News also caught the eye of community residents, who stepped up to donate, dropping off checks and cash to help Ethan's family.
Piccone offered to hold a celebrity bartender fundraiser in the Anchor Bar and Restaurant in Amherst.
Police Capt. Frederic F. Foels said about $15,000 has been raised for the family since February. The money will be used to help defray medical costs for genetic testing and to take Ethan to a specialist in Atlanta.