Parkchester resident to host dinner for late wife

Next month, a Bronx man will be holding a dinner for his late wife whom passed away last year.

On Thursday, July 15, longtime Parkchester resident Alexander Rutherford will host a dinner for, Leslie, who passed away in August after a long battle with scleroderma.

Scleroderma is a disease which affects mostly women and causes human heart, muscles, organs and skin to harden, while attacking healthy tissue in the body’s immune system.

The dinner will take place from 7 p.m. to midnight at the Kismet Catering Hall, 1995 Westchester Avenue and raise money for and spread awareness about the disease, which his wife battled for so long, as well to commemorate her life.

Leslie was born in Trinidad and Tobago before moving to New York in 1987. The two were married in 2000, and settled in Parkchester.

Alexander, originally from St. Albans, Queens, moved to Parkchester in the 1980s, which was where his father worked. He resettled in Parkchester in the mid-1990s before meeting Leslie.

In the mid-2000s, Leslie began to show symptoms of scleroderma. She eventually passed away as a result of the disease on August 19.

The dinner will include keynote speeches, as well as a DJ and a dance floor – so the night can also be a celebratory atmosphere for Leslie.

“She was very lighthearted and always in good spirits,” Alexander said. “She wanted to help everybody – it was like she was an angel on earth. We were all touched by having her in our lives.”

“I am so privileged for the time I was able to spend with her and the lessons she was able to provide to me. She was the best person I ever came in contact with,” he added.

Alexander further explained that the disease is both under exposed and unrecognized.

“Other diseases and illnesses, such as cancer, diabetes and AIDS have received so much attention – and it’s time that people become aware of this horrifying illness as well.”

Bob Saget’s sister Gay passed away in 1993 at age 42 as a result of the disease. Queen Latifah’s mother Rita has also suffered with the disease for over ten years.

“Leslie passed away last August after a lengthly, 10-year battle with scleroderma,” said Bruce Cowan, executive director of the Scleroderma Foundation’s tri-state chapter. “It’s comforting to know that Alexander is putting on a event in honor of his late wife to shed light, raise awareness and put this disease on the radar. Hopefully the proceeds from the event can be donated to future scleroderma research.”

For those who are looking to purchase tickets to the dinner, send the donation to Alexander Rutherford, P.O. Box 495, Parkchester Station, Bronx, NY 10462.

To donate funds towards the cause, please visit gofundme.com/a-dinner-for-leslie

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