WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Two Wilmington parents are working to help kids and teens with ADHD by spreading messages of kindness.
Anthony Bellezza was 18 years old when he tragically took his own life. His parents say it was an accident caused by an impulsive decision due to his ADHD.
Before his passing, Anthony was able to cope with the difficulties that come with ADHD through family support and martial arts. He also had a love for cars and motorcycles. He was accepted into six universities and had plans to attend Northwood University.
“You could see that as he got into martial arts, we could see him changing and then we got him all the help he needed. We had a wonderful pediatrician and a wonderful psychiatrist that helped him and they brought out the best of him and then when he turned 12, he got his black belt in martial arts. And from that point on he took a stand, and he watched over all the kids at school,” said Anthony’s father, Tony.
Tony and his wife Cassi want to continue sharing the message Anthony stood for: sharing kindness and positivity. Together, the two started Anthony’s Way, a non-profit charity that helps children and teens who have ADHD.
“When he passed we had 300 kids come through, students, classmates and tell us all the wonderful things that he had done and how he had helped them, how he smiled at them, how he made them feel good and that’s the life we want everyone to have that has ADHD,” said Tony.
The heart-shaped logo for Antony’s Way represents an open road towards a better future for kids and teens with ADHD. The parents say the color orange symbolizes unity.
Anthony’s Way is currently a pilot program. The goal is to bring the best doctors, teachers, life coaches, and anything a child may need into one space. The program will help families who are not able to afford the resources kids and teens with ADHD may need.
“They all need something different so we try to make sure that we have all the pieces in place so that whenever a child does come into the program we have the pieces in place to help them with whatever they need,” said Cassi Bellezza.
To help raise money for the charity, orange hearts of kindness are being sold at Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar in Carolina Beach. The hearts are being sold for $5 each. People can write a kind message and share words of encouragement.
“It’s great. Just any way to spread kindness throughout the community is fantastic we need more of that today,” said Shuckin’ Shack General Manager Chad Jeffrey.
People can purchase an orange heart at the oyster bar from Feb. 10-29. The hearts are also being placed around schools with Hoggard High School having over 600 hearts. The goal is to raise as much money as possible to provide more services to those with ADHD.
“Ultimately is going to be nationwide and we want to take it across the country and we believe there is a lot of kids that need help across the whole country,” said Tony.
The family is also hosting a walk at Hoggard High School on Sunday, Feb. 18, from 1-4 p.m. The event is a one-mile walk for kindness in honor of Anthony and Random Acts of Kindness Week.
“For our family, we live by a motto, our motto is ‘Today is the best day of your life and tomorrow will be even better,’” said Tony.
More information about Anthony’s Way can be found here.
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