Leominster Cello-bration raises $50,000 for Compassionate Care ALS
Well-known and beloved Leominster businessman Celestino “Cello” Ciccone (right) was honored with a Cello-bration, an August 8 fete at the Eagles club that attracted thousands of people and raised an astonishing $50,000 for Compassionate Care ALS, a disease he was diagnosed with in 2019. Pictured with his wife Kelly Ciccone (left) and official anthem singer for the Boston Bruins Todd Angilly, who sang the national anthem to kick off the bash. Courtesy Celestino “Cello” Ciccone.
LEOMINSTER — Thousands of people gathered on Aug. 8 at the Eagles club on Litchfield Street for Cello-bration, a fete honoring well-known and beloved local businessman Celestino “Cello” Ciccone, raising an astonishing $50,000 for Compassionate Care ALS with donations still coming in.
Well-known and beloved Leominster businessman Celestino “Cello” Ciccone, surrounded by family and friends, was feted at Cello-bration on August 8, which raised over $50,000 for Compassionate Care ALS, a disease he was diagnosed with in 2019. Courtesy Tom Bissonnette
“I am truly thankful and humbled by the turnout of wonderful people that showed up,” Ciccone said.
When Ciccone was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, early in 2019, he decided he wanted to throw a big bash with his friends while he was still able bodied. He reached out to Eagles manager Maria Richardson last year, but they had to postpone the event until this year due to COVID.
“I went to my boss and told him I need to do this for Cello,” Richardson said. “He said, ‘Whatever you need, we are behind you.’”
Richardson said they sold 1,000 tickets to the event and that “there was probably 3,000 people there.”
“It was overwhelming, I am still getting so many compliments,” she said.
Celestino “Cello” Ciccone’s daughter Ashton Casie and granddaughter Harper attended Cello-bration on August 8, which has raised over $50,000 for Compassionate Care ALS. Courtesy Tom Bissonnette.
Ciccone said he has “lived and will die by the main rule that ‘What goes around comes around.’”
“For 3,000 plus people to show up I guess I was pretty good to people,” he said. “More importantly I am so pleased to bring more attention to this dreadful disease, ALS. Despite my current health problem, I consider myself to be blessed for all the love that this event has shown me.”
Richardson met Ciccone back in the 1970s and they became friends. She said she was happy to help organize Cello-bration, which featured food trucks including Luccas American Kitchen, raffle and auction items, and live music entertainment from Neurotic Gumbo, Mark Marquis and Melissa Gates, and Soul Wagon. Todd Angilly, official anthem singer of the Boston Bruins, sang the national anthem to kick of the bash.
Ron Hoffman from Compassionate Care ALS addressed the crowd of thousands who gathered on August 8 for Cello-bration at the Eagles club in Leominster. Courtesy Tom Bissonnette.
“It was awesome,” Richardson said. “I think half of Leominster was there.”
Richardson said they set Ciccone up in the gazebo in a recliner that belonged to her late mother.
“People were lining up to go in and say hello, and one person said, ‘This is better than standing in line to see Santa,’” she said. “The line did not stop.”
She said at one point they took Ciccone out of the gazebo for a feeding break, and afterward he went right back in.
“Cello wanted the event to be 12 to 12, and I remember someone saying, ‘He is not going to last that long,’” Richardson said. “He ended up staying until 1 a.m. He was a trooper, all smiles. That is Cello, and that is his way.”
Ciccone and his wife Kelly Ciccone have lived in Leominster since they were married 38 years ago.
“It was really nice,” Kelly Ciccone said of Cello-bration. “He enjoyed it.”
All proceeds from the event will benefit Compassionate Care ALS, whose mission is to support people diagnosed with ALS, their families, health care providers, and communities as they navigate the complexities, both physical and emotional, associated with the disease.
Thousands of people gathered on August 8 at the Eagles club in Leominster for Cello-bration, a fete honoring well-known and beloved local businessman Celestino “Cello” Ciccone, raising an astonishing over $50,000 for Compassionate Care ALS with donations still coming in. Courtesy Tom Bissonnette.
Mike Cooley, who has known Ciccone for 30 years, said he “jumped at the chance” to emcee the event when asked.
“Cello has been a friend to everyone in the city,” Cooley said. “This was an event I was truly honored to be part of.”
Richardson said she could not have done the event without her husband Gary Richardson, “my rock,” and “all the Eagles people,” trustees, distributors and more.
“The outpouring of support and people that came was amazing,” she said, adding that people traveled from all over the region and as far away as Arizona to attend the event.
A bus company that Ciccone has frequently used to transport people to Patriots games as a longtime season ticket holder showed up with a bus, and friends of his from Maine, where he owns a house, also came. Northeast Promotion and Apparel was asked to help with Team Cello bracelets and decided to donate the cost, and one restaurant in Maine that Ciccone frequents donated $500.
The Columbia Tavern is accepting orders for “Team Cello” t-shirts until August 23 and Northeast Promotion and Apparel has “Team Cello” bracelets for sale, with proceeds from both going to Compassionate Care ALS. Courtesy The Columbia Tavern.
The Columbia Tavern is accepting orders for “Team Cello” T-shirts until Aug. 23 and Northeast Promotion and Apparel has “Team Cello” bracelets for sale, with proceeds from both going to Compassionate Care ALS. Several more local businesses, including Christopher’s Pub, Happy Jack’s, Hot Shotz Bar & Grill, and Paisanos Pizza & Spirits, also supported the event.
“Everybody was so happy, and so many people donated their time, energy, food, and more,” Richardson said. “It was amazing.”
Ciccone certainly did it his way.
For more information or to donate, visit https://ccals.org/events/cello-bration-his-way