Byline: Lisa Ingrassia
On Sunday, February 19th with the love and support of great friends I hosted my first “Paint It Forward” event at Pinot’s Palette in Red Bank, NJ. The energy in the room was electric, you could feel the love. 52 beautiful people came out to celebrate my father’s life and help raise awareness for swallowing disorders!!! We had a packed house and are grateful to everyone who came out to support the Albert J. Ingrassia Fund! It was a fabulous night of laughter, kindness and love. To learn more about what prompted this event, please continue reading.My father, Al Ingrassia passed away from complications due to Stage IV tongue cancer treatments on January 17, 2016. Aggressive radiation treatments damaged my Dad’s epiglottis so significantly that he was diagnosed with severe dysphagia, unable to ever eat or drink orally again. Think about celebrating your next special occasion with a loved one who can no longer eat. No more sipping coffee, no more toasting special occasions, no more birthday cake. My father, my hero, survived on medically prescribed shakes, Gatorade and water. During his time living on a PEG Tube, my father was constantly choking on thick phlegm often telling family and doctors he felt as if he was being suffocated. Swallowing disorders not only affect the patient but also dramatically impact the entire family. It was a long, difficult journey for my father and our entire family.
Sadly, dysphagia is a disorder that countless individuals are unaware of and when you tell someone your loved one has a swallowing disorder it is followed by very hurtful comments.
The Albert J. Ingrassia fund was established to help the countless individuals living with a swallowing disorder. Swallowing disorders are poorly understood, under-diagnosed, and as a result, mistreated, even by experienced professionals.
Monies raised from our Paint Night went directly to the National Foundation of Swallowing Disorders to provide patient support, raise disorder awareness and promote funding for promising dysphasia research.