‘Friends of Freddie’ band together to help beloved resident
Published 12:00 am, Thursday, September 7, 2017
DARIEN — Freddie Tuccinardi is a beloved figure in the town of Darien.
You may have seen him at Rings End or Palmers Market, at both of which he holds jobs, or in his role as an honorary member of both the Noroton Heights and Darien fire departments. Or perhaps around town, smiling and being friendly.
By all accounts, Tuccinardi is a remarkably sunny individual.
“He’s a beloved person. He wasn’t dealt the best hand, but you wouldn’t know it,” said David Genovese, a local developer and longtime friend of Tuccinardi’s.
At birth, Tuccinardi, now 33, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that affects body movement and muscle coordination that has left him wheelchair bound.
It’s a diagnosis that has, in time, become increasingly difficult for Tuccinardi and his mother, with whom he lives, to manage.
“His mother’s in her 70s. She’s a single mother. And she’s having a really tough time because she’s literally carrying him up the stairs to his second-floor room to go to bed,” Genovese explained.
But, thanks to Tuccinardi’s warm personality and extensive network of friends, he and his mother are anything but alone.
Learning of the Tuccinardis struggles, a group of concerned residents — some of whom Freddie has known most of his life — banded together to raise money, first for an ADA accessible van a few years ago, and now for funds to build a first floor bedroom and accommodations to aid Freddie and his mother, as well as to cover the costs of Freddie’s physical therapy.
“It’s very generous. It gives you a little piece of mind knowing that people will help you,” Tuccinardi said.
The group includes the Lion’s Club of Darien, the Darien Fire Department, the Genoveses, and many others close with the Tuccinardis.
“It’s really just a group of people that recognize that he has needs that he and his mother can’t afford,” said Dan Anderson, chairman of the Darien Fire Department and one of the organizers.
In order to raise money, a free party has been planned at Tilley Pond Park on Sept. 8, at which the bands Free Flow and Spadtastics will play. Donation jars and a giving tree will be set up. The group hopes to raise a minimum of $40,000 to cover the Tuccinardis’ extensive costs. A GoFundMe has also been started with a goal of $50,000. In 19 days — as of midday Wed., Aug. 6 — the Friends of Freddie page had raised $11,305 of its $50,000 goal.
“He’s the most upbeat, great guy. And he’s all over town,” Genovese said. “There are a lot of friends of Freddie who want to do what they can to help him. It’s a tough situation, but people have rallied around him over the years and this is just another example of the good that’s out there in this town.”