On Sunday, July 23rd, we held a celebration of Alyssa’s life on her 22nd birthday.  Alyssa loved celebrating birthdays and we have many fond memories of her birthday parties.  Alyssa enjoyed planning her own parties because she wanted everyone in attendance to enjoy themselves and savor the wonderful times they would spend together.  In memory of her passion for music, we hosted a barbecue lunch and rooftop concert at the Ronald McDonald House in Chicago near Michigan and Grand Avenues.  It was a great day to celebrate Alyssa’s time with us and her passing to an eternal life. 

Alyssa’s cousin, Daniel, put together a team of chefs and friends who did an outstanding job preparing and serving lunch to dozens of family members on a beautiful summer afternoon.  Along with the delicious food, attendees enjoyed the wonderful pop music and original compositions performed by the Summer Monkeys, an all family band of tweens and teens who also hail from Alyssa’s hometown of Geneva, IL. 

Many thanks to the food volunteers - Marissa and Mario Castagna, Rose and Dan Carocci, and Mario DeCarlo, and the musical siblings – George, Isabel, Adam, Emily, Eli and Jack – for cooking and playing their hearts out!  Thank you also to all the friends of AAFH who volunteered to help and celebrate Alyssa’s birthday!

Our lunch and the Summer Monkeys performance closed out with everyone singing ‘Happy Birthday, Dear Alyssa’ and a release of 22 red (her favorite color) balloons into the blue skies near Chicago’s lakefront, one of Alyssa’s favorite places. 

As you can see in the photos, it was a party Alyssa would have loved.