A former professional football player was at council Monday to ask for support for those who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder.
He said during a decade playing football for the CFL and NFL, he learned to give back to the community, including visiting children in hospital.
Now the owner of a fitness studio in Thorold, in recent years Dan Giancola has helped to raise money for various causes, including a young girl with a rare disease and the Steve Ludzik Foundation for Shaver Hospital, with fundraiser galas.
Last year, he said, he wasn’t sure what cause he wanted to support, but “right around this time,” he and his wife and daughter were going over the highway to Niagara Falls, when they saw a woman straddling the bridge.
He pulled over and approached her, while his wife called 911.
“By the grace of God on that day, I remember standing two feet from her, when she said, “what do I have to live for? I looked at her and said, life.’”
She leaned over the bridge to jump, and with the help of two young women who were also there, they lunged at her, grabbed her and pulled her over the railing, and for the next year, she seemed fine and on the road to recovery.
That year, Giancola organized a gala for mental health, raising $27,000 and giving money to Raft, the children’s shelter, gave Pathstone three benches for an outdoor park and beds for the women who stay at the Southridge shelter and the Canadian Mental Health Association needed a new commercial washer and dryer.
Unfortunately he said, three months ago the woman on the bridge who had been saved, jumped again and was hit by a train.
“I suffer now from PTSD,” said Giancola.
This year’s gala is for Give the Boot to PTSD, Refuse to Lose, honouring first responders. It will be held on Oct. 5 at Club Castropignano in Port Robinson. If anyone wants information, to purchase tickets or to make a donation, call Giancolo at 905-371-4213.