By Larry Austin
Island Dispatch Editor
Adrian's Custard & Beef is the Island hub for fundraising to battle Crohn's disease and colitis.
A cruise night fundraiser took place Monday at the popular restaurant at the intersection of Baseline Road and Grand Island Boulevard. Toni Amantia, owner/president of Adrian's, said 100 percent of the donations and money raised at the event, as well as 10 percent of food sales for the day at Adrian's, were donated to the Western New York chapter of the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America.
The fourth annual fundraiser was bigger than last year with more vendors and more cars, Amantia said, with 100 percent of proceeds from a purple bracelet sale, a basket raffle, and donations going to CCFA, she said. Adrian's has been selling the bracelets since opening for the season in March, Amantia said.
"It brings so much awareness" to people who have never heard of it, Amantia said of the fundraiser.
Crohn's, an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract, is a disease close to Amantia's heart. Amantia said she was misdiagnosed for years. "I never gave it a thought until my youngest got really sick," she said. Since then, all four of her sons have been diagnosed with Crohn's disease.
Sometimes the drugs used to fight the disease have severe side effects, Amantia said, forcing patients to weigh the tradeoff between quality of life and treatment.
Though Monday's fundraiser is over, supporters can still donate at Adrian's all summer. Fundraising is ongoing, with another cruise night to take place in August and a charity walk Buffalo in scheduled for September.
Fundraiser for the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation
A cruise night fundraiser for the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation at Adrian's Custard & Beef included an appearance by a rare vehicle owned by Islander Bill Gworek Sr.: a 1969 Chevrolet Corvair convertible.
Only 6,000 Corvairs were made in 1969, 521 ragtops like the one pictured with Bill and his wife Sandy. One-hundred-fifty were made with the large powertrain as in Gworek's marina blue model. There are only 58 Corvair convertibles left today. It features an air-cooled, rear-mounted engine built for 10 years exclusively at the Tonawanda Engine Plant, Gworek said.
He bought his Corvair convertible in 1986 in Detroit when he was an engineer on business. He had looked at a dozen cars on the trip. "And I spent my evenings shopping for a toy," he said. He sent word to Sandy when the Corvair was found. "And one day I called her and I said, 'Send money.' And I drove home that weekend."
"It's a fun car to drive," said Gworek, a member of the Niagara Frontier Corvair Club, which meets the third Monday of each month, frequently on the Island. (Photo by Larry Austin)