After Rob Verderosa, 40, of Bellmore, had a stroke that sent him to the ICU, his friends set up a gofundme page to alleviate the burden of hospital bills on him and his family.
“Even if you don’t think you know him, you probably do,” said Toni Ann Cestare, 35, of Holtsville about her close friend, Robert Verderosa, 40, of Bellmore. Verderosa is an entrepreneur with businesses that stretch from the Hamptons to Manhattan. His friends say he takes pride in his 1963 Chevrolet Impala, but it is his two children, 8-year-old Isabella and 5-year-old Dominik, that make him most proud. He’s an avid Mets fan and, for three weeks, he watched their games from the respiratory unit of North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset.
Verderosa had a stroke that damaged his brain stem and sent him to the ICU in critical condition on March 14. Eleven days later he was upgraded to stable and moved to a respiratory unit where doctors worked on getting him to breath and swallow on his own. On April 17, Verderosa, or “Rob Vee,” moved to the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine in Manhattan, where he currently resides. If he goes home, his house will require modifications to make it handicapped-accessible. Cestare started a Gofundme page called “Pray for Rob Vee” to help with medical expenses. Its goal is $50,000 and nearly $30,000 has already been raised.
Verderosa’s friend and his first fundraiser donor, Brian Lewis Jr., 40, of Malverne, said that the initial thing Verderosa will do when he recovers is have a party. “That would be him,” Lewis said. “Probably right after he went home and hugged his kids.”
Verderosa has gained some local fame as DJ Rob Vee, emceeing parties at his businesses such as Parlay in Rockville Centre and multiple nightclubs along Hempstead Turnpike. One of these venues, McHebes, became popular among locals for Friday happy hours.
McHebes was Verderosa’s first business and he opened its doors in 2003. He started building his “empire,” as Lewis called it, along Hempstead Turnpike as venues became available. In 2005, he opened Porky’s NYC in Manhattan and Cestare became its marketing director for business. In 2014, he opened Parlay in Rockville Centre and, soon after, he opened Salt on the Water in Merrick.
Lewis said that less than a week before Verderosa’s stroke, the two spoke about a fundraiser Lewis wanted to do at Crossroads Farm in Malverne. Lewis is a member of the board of directors of the Nassau Land Trust, which owns the nonprofit, organic community farm, and wanted to raise money with a concert with DJ Rob Vee. He said that Verderosa often used his businesses and talents to host fundraisers and help others.
Verderosa’s wife, Frances, has been taking care of her husband since his stroke, while her parents watch the couple’s children.
On June 11 at 1 p.m., there will be a fundraiser for Verderosa at McFadden’s at CitiField, featuring a silent auction, raffles, food and drinks. For more information, email Cestare at Prayforrobvee@gmail.com.
Verderosa’s family did not see any signs leading to his stroke, although hours before he had experienced a stint of what he thought was vertigo, according to Cestare.
There are more than 800,000 cases of stroke in the United States each year, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Recognizing the signs and symptoms can help decrease this number. To raise awareness, NINDS honors each May as National Stroke Awareness Month. This year it will be hosting a Thunderclap, a social media platform that allows multiple users to post a single message at the same time, on May 1st at 1 p.m. NINDS will share facts about strokes, how to lower risk and detail stroke symptoms. To participate in the NINDS Thunderclap, visit the page on their website and click “support with,” followed by the platform on which you would like to share the message. Thunderclap will automatically post it.
To donate to Verderosa’s gofundme page, visit www.GoFundMe.com/prayforrobvee.