An Italian-American, born in Reggio, Calabria in 1947, Tony came to the USA when he was 9 years old. Tony had hopes and dreams of fitting in and living the American dream. He and his mother settled in Paulsboro, New Jersey. Tony’s life was never easy. At 17 years old, he received his high school diploma in the hospital after breaking his neck and was told he would never walk again…
Tony proved them wrong and after months of therapy along with rehabilitation, he returned to a normal life. He graduated from the police force, married and divorced with two children. Tony became a single parent later in life and raised his two daughters on his own. Tony always took care of his mother, who lived alone.
After 32 years, Tony retired as a Lieutenant from the Delaware River Port Authority and pursued his dream to build a home and move to Florida when he retired.
Then everything changed…
He was on his way to a car show in his prized 34′ Ford, one mile from his home when an uninsured, drugged driver hit him from behind while he was sitting at a red light.
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities were just not equipped to care for Tony. Long term care living facilities for TBI survivors were scarce and very expensive. Anne Marie’s dad was unique in that he required a one-on-one caregiver to re-direct him on every move he made. After nine hospitals and three moves, Tony’s family finally realized that the only place that was best for him was a TBI facility. The nearest TBI facility was four hours away from his daughter, mother and grandchildren. Tony resided at Neurorestorative in Clearwater, Florida for several years while Anne-Marie stepped in and cared for Tony's mother until she passed away at 91 years of age. Tony cared for his mother his entire life.
Anne-Marie noticed a decline in Tony's health and made arrangements to bring her father closer to her in Jacksonville, where she set up her own caregivers to be by his side 24/7 and in a place where he always dreamed of living, on the water. Tony gave it a good fight for several more years until his dementia, neurogenic bladder, and neuropathy became increasingly worse over time. Tony passed away in his home in his daughter's arms on March 17, 2018.
Anne-Marie has courageously decided to continue her mission and efforts to help others with TBI, generate awareness, and provide scholarships to those in need.
Anne-Marie’s book, Time with You: A TBI Story, was written as part of her healing process and to share her happiness, sadness, and grief after losing her father from years of suffering.