Helen Keller once said, “alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” And in former Comsewogue baseball player Daniel Colasanto’s time of need, the community has come together to be the catalyst for recovery, in mind, body and spirit.
Colasanto suffered significant head trauma after being hit by a car on Route 25A around 1 a.m. on June 16. The 18-year-old received what his father Wayne called “life-saving surgery” at John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson before he was transported to Stony Brook Hospital’s trauma center.
“The care that he has received, although a different type of care, has been parallel with the efforts and outpouring of the community,” Wayne Colasanto said of the staff at both hospitals. “You couldn’t ask for more. They’ve been that impressionable.”
Following the accident, the family’s pastor, Randy Paige, of Christ Church United Methodist in Port Jefferson Station, held a prayer service for Daniel, who his father said always wakes up with a smile because he finds the good in everything.
“It’s a small church,” Colasanto said. “And there were over 300 people there — there was zero room left. Some of the people included surgeons, people Danny played baseball with 10 years ago, teachers, guidance counselors, an endless amount of family members. There was a potpourri of people from every facet of our life represented at that prayer service. It was truly amazing.”
And that support hasn’t quieted down. It’s still more than noticeable — as the community helped the Colasanto family heal.
Wayne Colasanto said the family has received food, blankets and other things to keep the average 25 kids in the waiting room comfortable, almost entirely from anonymous donors.
“That, to me, speaks volumes,” he said. “I always felt that the gift was in the giving, not the recognition.”
The Port Jefferson Station family has also received donations from local and surrounding community establishments.
Chick-fil-A in Port Jefferson Station has brought in freshly cooked food to the Ronald McDonald Lounge on the 11th floor of the hospital every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. GREEK-TO-GO in Stony Brook has brought a “humongo” Greek salad every day, and Gyro Palace in Rocky Point has also supplied food.
“Seeing the caring spirit in humanity, the general concern of people you don’t even know and how they have leaped into action in support, it’s humbling.”
— Wayne Colasanto
“The people who are donating to our family are feeding everyone up on the 11th floor,” Colasanto said. “The amount of food that’s been donated through friends, other restaurants — if we were having an eating contest at Coney Island on the Fourth of July we couldn’t get through all the food.”
And the donations keep coming.
Colasanto said that every time he goes downstairs to retrieve donations, he’s almost immediately sent back, if not interrupted on his way back upstairs, to collect more donations.
Assistance has also come in other forms.
Zachary Colasanto, one of Daniel’s older brothers, is extremely close with his brother.
“They’ve never had a fight in their life,” Wayne Colasanto said.
The father said that when Daniel was a junior and Zachary a senior, they approached him to ask if they could forego their own bedrooms and purchase a bunk bed to live as they did when they were younger.
“That’s how close they are. But as a parent with some wisdom, I said absolutely not,” Wayne Colasanto said, laughing.
Zachary Colasanto wanted to do something special to show support for his brother, who was a four-year varsity baseball player for the Warriors, and started on varsity as an eighth-grader at The Stony Brook School. Colasanto also played football at Comsewogue, and is currently on the roster as a pitcher at The College of Saint Rose.
Zachary had T-shirts made at Port Jeff Sporting Goods, which have the hashtag #PrayforDan and the No. 42, Daniel’s jersey number, on the back. When Daniel’s eldest brother Michael went to pick up the 50 shirts that Port Jeff Sports helped design and make, they would not accept payment.
“I was overwhelmed with joy and gratitude at the fact that Port Jeff Sports was generous enough to donate those shirts,” Zachary Colasanto said. “It is incredible to see the love and support the entire community has been sharing with my family during this very difficult time.”
Wayne Colasanto said Father’s Day was especially difficult, but added it was also a positive reminder.
“It was probably the toughest Father’s Day, but it’s the one that I feel the most blessed about, because of the unity of my family,” he said. “I had to fight his friends to go home on Saturday night before Father’s Day. They literally refused. I told them that they would not outwait me. And before noon, they were all back here the following morning.”
Other area businesses and community members continue to show support. A GoFundMe page was created by a friend, to help raise money for the family: www.gofundme.com/dancolasantosfight. Also, Sundaes in Port Jefferson Station, on Route 112, will be holding a fundraiser on Friday, July 1. The day happens to be Daniel’s 19th birthday. The fundraiser will be held from 5 to 8 p.m., and 20 percent of all sales will be donated.
That constant, and around-the-clock support has opened Wayne Colasanto’s eyes.
“I don’t mean to sound cynical, but it’s almost disbelief,” he said. “I’ve admittedly adopted a cynical look at people in general because of their abrasiveness at times, and after seeing the caring spirit in humanity, the general concern of people you don’t even know and how they have leaped into action in support, it’s humbling. I just feel rejuvenated in my own mind about people in general. I’ll never forget what people have done. You can’t put into words.”
To stay updated on Daniel’s condition, you can visit the Facebook page the family has created, called Daniel Colasanto’s Fight: www.facebook.com/danielcolasantosfight/.