Last Sunday the Hudson Valley chapter of United Spinal Association hosted it’s second annual “ Cruisin’ for Inclusion” car show outside of the Palisades Mall. Cars of different makes, models and styles from American classics to super sports cars where parked outside the mall for the public to admire. Entries included a 1972 chevy nova, a 1970 Camaro, a 1992 Mustang convertible, and even unicorn themed 2014 3 cylinder Mitsubishi Mirage.
Donations were collected to help support the mission of United Spinal, a non profit organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of people with spinal cord injury/ disease, and their families and caregivers.
The fundraising event was founded by Peter Gagliardo a member of United Spinal, and Matt Castelluccio the president of the Hudson Valley chapter of the organization, in collaboration with Will Petrizzi
Petrizzi first pitched the idea for the car show while being treated for a spinal problems at Helen Hayes Hopstial in 2016.
“I met Matt ,who was working at Helen Hayes as a peer mentor director and sports coordinator while I was a recovering from a spinal infection . I promised myself if I could ever walk again I would get my dream car”
Later, after meeting Gagliardo, a car guy himself , the three discussed the idea of creating a fundrasing event for United Spinal that would incorporate their passion and catch the attention of the community.
“We like cars and wanted to unite our hobbies and educating the community while raising a few dollars for our org. to be able to continue hosting educational events and small grants” said Castelluccio
“Both Pete and myself were motorcycle guys before our injuries and always liked cars . We have to break down these stigmas about disabilities. Many didn’t know our events could be possible. Being married having children and a job, no one should label us as being unable. People should not be defined by their disability but their ability that has given us strength and a unique perspective on life. Why not share our love for vehicles?”
Castelluccio and his fellow members of the United Spinal Association have been pleased with the turnout for the “Cruisn for Inclusion” and plan to continue the annual show.