Sometimes, social media can bring out the best in a community.
John Filippone, operations manager of Piedmont Tire and Auto and an administrator on the popular “Western Prince William Chatter” Facebook page, has rallied the group of 23,000-plus to help the family of a local high school athlete battling brain cancer.
So far, he’s raised $16,500 of his $20,000 goal.
Last spring, 16-year-old Ryland Harris, a junior at Brentsville High School who wrestled and played football and baseball, was diagnosed with grade 4 glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer.
Since then, the teenager has undergone brain surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and immunotherapy.
Ryland’s family says “to know him is to love him.” His infectious smile, work ethic and kindheartedness have inspired his medical teams and helped power him through cancer treatments.
Every year, Piedmont Tire and Auto gives away a set of tires. In the past, the tires have gone to local teachers, first responders, doctors and nurses, military.
A few months ago, Filippone helped Ryland’s family make his wish to drive come true, fixing up a car with new tires and some other repairs.
That gave Filippone the idea to turn his annual tire giveaway into a fundraiser for Ryland and his family. For a donation of $20 or more, Piedmont is randomly picking donors for free tires, free oil changes for a year, free state inspections for five years, free front and rear brakes and a free alignment.
And through a single Western Prince William Chatter post, Filippone rallied other local businesses for the charity raffle, including:
- Wayne Pollack with a Touch of Grass, who is donating four lawn treatments for a yard up to 1/2 acre.
- Robert Trainer and Tiffany Trainer, owners of Creators of Total Comfort, have donated free HVAC maintenance valued at $500.
- Gina Leska Sanford, owner of LasterTag2U, is donating a party for 10 for laser tag.
- J.R. Deering, owner of Pro Edge Painting, is donating a bedroom makeover.
- Tony Anzelone , owner of Bianchi Carpet Cleaning, is donating a free whole house carpet steam cleaning, as well as Joe Bouch with JCB Carpet.
- And the big prize, former Washington Football Team coach Joe Gibbs has agreed to give a call to one lucky winner.
Other business donors include Rachel Maddox with One Step Flooring, Vinny Di Giovanni with Tony’s Pizza in Bristow, B&M International Steel Company and Heather’s Painted Treasures. Filippone said several other businesses have also donated services and prizes.
All of the money raised will go directly to Ryland and his family to help with medical bills.
Filippone said within two days of posting about the fundraiser on Western Prince William Chatter, the effort had already raised $15,000 toward the $20,000 goal.
And while the Facebook group might be full of posts griping about traffic or complaining about the wrong cheese on a fast-food sandwich, Filippone said local residents are always ready to come together in times of community need.
“The power of social media when used correctly can be so positive,” Filippone said.