How far would you walk to help out a family member? If you are Nick D’Alleva, a Boston-based Edible Arrangements franchisee, 50 miles is not too far to go if means getting closer to a cure for multiple sclerosis (MS), a disease that has stricken two of his family members.
D’Alleva joined other relatives recently for the three-day MS Challenge Walk through the streets of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, to help raise funds toward finding a cure for MS. It was just the latest effort in what has become a personal and professional crusade for the franchisee.
D’Alleva first became aware of the realities of MS when his brother-in-law, Carl Lombardi, and Carl’s daughter, Melissa, were both diagnosed with the disease just nine years apart. In 2005, Carl’s brother, Kevin took part in a fundraising walk for the National MS Society and shortly thereafter, D’Alleva joined in.
“We are a family, and when your family is in pain, you do everything in your power to fight for them,” D’Alleva says. “That walk inspired Kevin to take charge, and I just jumped in with him.”
The next year, they pulled more family members together to create the “Lombardi Party” as a group fundraising team. And now, just six years later, the “Lombardi Party” is the largest fundraiser for MS in the state of Massachusetts.
Already this year, the group has raised $56,000, thanks in large part to D’Alleva’s decision to use his Edible Arrangements franchise as a tool in the fight against MS.
Earlier this year, he approached fellow Edible Arrangements franchisees in the area to help him raise funds through a special promotion. The group raised $10,000, and now there are discussions about taking the effort into other markets.
“This cause is very personal to my family and when things get personal, there are no limits to what you can do,” D’Alleva says.
He applies that optimism to every area of his life. Not only does D’Alleva run his three Boston-area Edible Arrangements stores, but he also contributes to all of the “Lombardi Party” fundraising events. From comedy and Vegas nights to golf and whiffle ball tournaments, D’Alleva devotes much of his free time to help lead in the fight against MS.
“I pretty much have two full-time jobs and you couldn’t pay me to give up either of them,” he says. “Taking care of my family is my only priority, and I’ll continue working to that end in every way that I can.”