by Mary Donnelly | Every now and again, we learn about great people doing great things through social media.
One of these great people is former Bay Shore resident Nick Pappanicholas, who is using Facebook to cull interest in efforts to benefit his good friend and former classmate, Andy Loughlin.
Both men graduated from Bay Shore High School in 1979.
“We had known each other since 6th or 7th grade or so,” said Pappanicholas, who now lives in Oceanside. “We were in the school band together. We were always laughing. We were like brothers. People often asked if we were.”
Both men held onto their close friendship over the years, even after Loughlin moved in California in the 1980s and started a family. Both made efforts to travel from coast to coast to see one another whenever possible.
“Andy and I picked up as if we had seen each other the day before. That’s how it is when you are close to someone,” said Pappanicholas.
This April his longtime friend suffered a brain stem stroke that left him physically paralyzed — though his mind remains in full function.
“I knew something had to be done,” said Pappanicholas, explaining that Loughlin’s work is the primary source of income for his family.
While the Loughlin family’s bills piled up, he needed to undergo intensive physical therapy in a rehabilitation facility more than an hour away from his home. He’s since been making slow progress under the regimen.
Pappanicholas decided to share Loughlin’s story back where their friendship began. He’s spearheading efforts to host an Oktoberfest-themed fundraising event at The Jon Thomas Inne in Brightwaters on Saturday, Oct. 1., to benefit the Loughlin family.
“I knew Bay Shore had to be the main focal point of my efforts,” Pappanicholas said.
The event has garnered dozens of donations from local businesses, and giveaways that include a Montauk getaway, VIP tickets to see a live taping of the Dr. Oz show, and two North Fork winery tours.
WWSK-FM 94.3 The Shark, will be broadcasting live from the parking lot throughout the day.
Pappanicholas hopes that this event is one of many that will help raise awareness and funds for the Loughlin family, citing that medical insurance doesn’t do enough to cover costs associated with a complex recovery process.
“With paralysis, progress is slow. That is why I’m doing what I’m doing,” he said.
Anyone can make a donation online by clicking here.
$10,150 has been raised so far.
Top: Andy Loughlin with his brothers John (back) and Rob (front) on Labor Day.