Dr. Michael DeLeo accepted the check from state Rep. Smitty Pignatelli.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Last month before Pete Townshend hit the stage at Tanglewood to perform "Quadrophenia," he held a small fundraiser at Highwood Manor House on the campus.
The group had dinner with the Who singer, Billy Idol, and Alfie Boe. The money was to be donated to Townshend's Teen Cancer America Foundation and the Hillcrest Cancer Center at Berkshire Medical Center.
"He wanted no more than 30 people. It was a small, intimate group. He talked to everyone. We all got commemorative autographed posters. We had dinner together," Pignatelli said.
Together the group raised $18,000, which was to be split between the two organizations. But on Monday, state Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli, who helped organize the fundraiser, announced that Townshend opted to donate his half to the Hillcrest Cancer Center.
"What is special about this check of $18,000 is that we thought we'd be splitting $18,000 with Pete Townshend's organization. Pete Townshend after the performance said 'you guys treated me so well, I loved the people you brought to this reception, I'm willing to forego my Teen Cancer Fund and give it all to the folks in the Berkshires,'" Pignatelli said.
Pignatelli presented that check to Dr. Michael DeLeo on Monday afternoon.
The Lenox representative said the management team of Townshend contacted Allyce Najimy, of Foundation To Be Named Later, about doing something. She then contacted Pignatelli, who agreed to help but only if some of the money would stay in the Berkshires. Townshend agreed to split the money.
Pignatelli then rallied his friends.
He first called Charlie O'Brien from Adams Community Bank. O'Brien couldn't make the concert, but purchased tickets anyway and sent a team of employees. Lori Gazzillo, from Berkshire Bank, couldn't make it either. But Senior Vice President Mike Ferry happened to be a big fan of the Who, so he took the ticket. Matt Keator from the Keator Group and officials from Walmart joined in.
Keator said it was easy for him to get involved because it was a "worthwhile cause." Gazzillo echoed the same sentiment.
President of the Hillcrest Campus Eugene Dellea said he was grateful that when the opportunity presented itself, Pignatelli thought about helping the campus.
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