Young Orland Park brothers set up fundraiser for Danny Did Foundation
By Mike Nolan firstname.lastname@example.org April 22, 2011 7:30PM
If you go ...
A fundraiser for the Danny Did
Foundation will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 1 at Fantastic Sam’s, 9548 W. 147th St., Orland Park. For
a donation to the foundation,
participants will receive a free buzz cut. For information, call Fantastic Sam’s at (708) 460-4480.
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
Owen and Ryan Toppi are typical 8-year-old boys, involved in activities such as Scouting and sports.
But the Orland Park brothers are involved in something definitely atypical of boys their age — organizing a fundraiser to benefit the Danny Did Foundation.
The foundation was started by the parents of Danny Stanton, who died of a seizure in December 2009 at age 4. The foundation seeks to raise awareness of sudden unexplained death in epilepsy. Danny’s parents, Mike and Mariann, also work to provide information about SUDEP to hospitals and doctors’ offices. Mariann is an Oak Lawn native.
“We just don’t want anyone to die from epilepsy,” Ryan said simply of the motivation behind the fundraiser.
“Buzz Cuts for Danny” will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 1 at Fantastic Sam’s, 9548 W. 147th St., Orland Park. Participants will receive a free buzz cut with a donation to the foundation.
Danny Stanton was a best friend and next-door neighbor of Owen’s and Ryan’s cousin Charlie Duffy. Charlie had been over at Stanton’s house on Chicago’s North Side to play and have pizza just hours before Danny died, said Michelle Toppi, Charlie’s aunt and mother of Owen and Ryan. Just 4 years old at the time, Charlie had trouble understanding why his friend died, she said.
“Old people die but not young kids,” Toppi said. “(Danny’s) death has deeply affected our family.”
The first Buzz Cuts for Danny was held in May on the city’s North Side, and Owen and his mom went. On the way back home, Owen thought it would be a good idea to have one closer to home, his mom said.
Michelle Toppi said she called and talked to Sue Gabouer, the owner of Fantastic Sam’s, who “didn’t even hesitate” to offer her shop and staff for the fundraiser.
Their birthdays are a little more than a month apart — Ryan’s in early June and Owen’s in mid-July — and getting a buzz cut is a summer ritual, their mom said.
The both play baseball with the Orland Youth Association and soccer with the Orland Park Soccer Club. Along with teammates they’ve told friends, neighbors, people at church and everybody in Owen’s Cub Scout pack.
They’re hoping for a good turnout.
“We hope they learn about the seizure epilepsy and they’ll know what to do if it happens,” Ryan said.