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Niagara’s Frank Spadafore battled his own adversity to support local music

fr24news– He loved poker. He loved the Cowboys. But most of all, Frank Spadafore loved music.

The 25-year-old Legends employee at the Niagara Golf Course was a familiar face at local concerts, but had a serious devotion to the Light of Day shows – a series of fundraising concerts for Parkinson Canada inspired by the legendary fundraisers of Light of Day fund in New Jersey, which frequently features Spadafore’s musical hero Bruce Springsteen.

Even after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2018, Spadafore has traveled hundreds of kilometers to several cities to see concerts, often alone.

Early last year, Parkinson Canada President Dave Rotella of Niagara Falls pulled some strings to help Spadafore finally meet Springsteen after the annual Light of Day show in Asbury Park.

“He met everyone, so it was like, ‘Hey, Bruce, this is someone you’ve never met,’” Rotella said with a laugh.

Rotella said Spadafore always seemed “same pin” – never too high or low – so it was sometimes difficult to gauge his reaction to something. But meeting Springsteen was a lifelong dream come true.

“His girlfriend then said to me, ‘Dave, you don’t know how excited he was when he got home. He was smiling ear to ear and I know that made his weekend.

Spadafore succumbed to her cancer on Saturday, more than a year more than her doctor had initially given her to live. He was 55 years old.

Rotella said Spadafore has been a strong supporter of local Light of Day shows since the premiere in 2007 and that he would become friends with many performers over the years, including Willie Nile, Joe Grushecky and Joe D’Urso.

Many of them performed for a three-hour online tribute concert to him called Friends for Frank which Rotella hosted in November.

“So many people with Light of Day loved it and when I rejected the idea it was amazing. Everyone answered me by e-mail: “I am, I am, I am”. “

Spadafore’s brother Lou said Frank has been a music buff his entire life and would not hesitate to drive hundreds of miles on his own to see a concert.

“I mean, if no one else wanted to go, he would jump in his car and drive to New York. Or Pittsburgh, New Jersey, Kingston, Toronto, everywhere. It was his concert, it was his life.

In his senior year, it was particularly difficult for him not to attend live concerts because of the pandemic.

“COVID has really put a dent in everything, especially for him,” Lou said. “Not being able to go to hockey games, to football games, to concerts.”

Despite her illness, Rotella said, Spadafore insisted on helping others overcome their difficulties, always paying for tickets to fundraising concerts, even when they were offered for free.

He said he was “inspired” by the way he handled adversity.

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“You have never seen it high or low, even during this illness. You would tell him, Frank, how are you feeling? and he said: “I feel good”. Then you were talking to his brother and he was like, “Oh Dave, he’s had a bad week.

“He never said a word. “

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the family are considering a private celebration of their life.

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