SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – A night of comedy fundraiser, featuring ‘New Jersey’s Bad Boy’ Mike Marino and benefiting ‘Wheels for Bri’ will take place on Dec. 18. The event, sponsored by the South Plainfield Elks #2298, will take place at the Union Elks Lodge and all monies raised will go directly to Patricia Feeney whose 6-year-old daughter Brianna has a rare disease known as Pallister Killian Syndrome (PKS) and is blind, non-verbal and unable to walk or crawl and, as a result, confined to a wheelchair.

“The Elks are a passionate organization willing to help anyone in need and those less fortunate than ourselves,” said Pete Smith, a member of the South Plainfield Elks and past president of the New Jersey State Elks Association. “When you are blessed to have healthy children and you see Brianna, who has a rare disease that only 200 people in the world have, and how much Patti Feeney loves her daughter how can you not want to do something to help?”

Comedian Mike Marino was born in Jersey City and grew up in Scotch Plains. He attended the American Academy of Dramatic Acts and has had success in film and theatre, appeared in over 200 national television commercials and acted in soaps and television shows. Marino has toured the country performing for thousands at comedy clubs and sold-out theatres from New York to LA. He has worked with some of the biggest names in the business and is a top headliner at both the Laugh Factory in Manhattan and The Comedy Store in Hollywood. Marino’s stand-up material ranges from cutting edge observations of everyday life to his Italian family roots.

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Monies raised from the night of comedy with Marino – along with any upcoming fundraisers – will go to help Feeney, a resident of South Plainfield and single mother of three, offset the $30,000 financed cost of a handicap accessible minivan she purchased last month as well as go toward the purchase of much-needed medical equipment, including a wheelchair ($8,000), medical safety bed ($10,000), gate trainer ($2,000) to help strengthen Brianna’s weak muscles and a Hoyer Lift ($7,000) to help lift her in and out of the bathtub, bed, wheelchair, etc.

"Our friends, family and many who don't even know us, have become our angels at a time when we really needed help. Thanks to the generosity of so many people, we were able to purchase a handicap accessible van,” said Feeney, adding, “I am so grateful to everyone organizing this evening of comedy to help pay for the financed portion of the van and for much needed medical equipment like a new wheelchair for Brianna. And it's so exciting to have a comedian as well known as Mike Marino come perform for us!"  

The South Plainfield Elks – along with Elks throughout the country and the state – are dedicated to helping those in need and, unlike many of the country’s other fraternal organizations,  they are not dedicated to one specific cause or group. Instead the Elks, a 501(c)(8) not-for-profit, dedicate their services and financial resources to help a variety of organizations and individuals, including but not limited to, special needs children.

“When you see someone who doesn't have what you have and you’ve been blessed – and it isn’t about money - how can you not want do something? There’s nothing we wouldn't do to help Patti Feeney and her family,” added Smith. “Mike [Marino] is a Jersey boy and even though they call him ‘New Jersey’s Bad Boy’ he is a good guy for our kids.”

"The South Plainfield Elks have been wonderful. Caring for a child with multiple disabilities along with the many stresses of life can get overwhelming at times,” said Feeney. “The Elks have given me support, encouragement and friendship. They always go above and beyond to help others without asking for recognition or for anything in return. They are an amazing group of individuals.”

The South Plainfield Elks comedy night fundraiser featuring Mike Marino will take place Friday, Dec. 18 at 8 p.m. at the Union Elks Lodge, 281 Chestnut Street. Tickets are $40 each or $350 for a table of 10. Drinks and food will also be available for purchase. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Darlene Cullen at (908) 591-9355. Additional information is also available at http://mikemarino.net or on Facebook by searching ‘NJ Bad Boy Mike Marino’s Comedy Show Fundraiser for Bri.’