By Keith Vislay
INDIANA -- Coffee. Pastries. Doilies. Lou Gehrig's disease.
If not for William L. "Bill" Szep, owner of Caffé Amadeus coffee shop, these words would share no connection.
Szep has organized a fundraiser for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. The effort will culminate with caffeine, candlelight and confections on homecoming weekend this Friday evening, serenaded by music on the sidewalk in front of Szep's family-run Philadelphia Street shop.
Szep said he was moved to help following a recent diagnosis of cable TV reality-baking show celebrity Mary "Momma" Valastro Pinto that she had the crippling neurological disease. Pinto and her clan, who have appeared on the TLC channel docu-soap "Cake Boss" since its debut in 2009, responded by hosting Szep and his family last month at the Hoboken, N.J., bakery where the show is set.
Szep said his motive is simple.
"To make Momma smile," he said. "I want to send her a video of a full coffeehouse, wall-to-wall."
In addition to videotaping Friday's activities, Szep said he, his family and staff this week will accept $1 donations in exchange for donors' personalized doilies to be posted in the coffee shop's window. On Friday, $5 donors will receive a cup of freshly roasted coffee (or freshly brewed tea) and a handmade pastry.
The evening's music has been organized by Indiana Area School District music instructor Julianne Laird, Szep said.
All donations will be sent to the Momma Mary Foundation in Hoboken to support ALS research, Szep said. The Caffé Amadeus effort is scheduled to be recognized there at an Oct. 23 foundation gala.
The Caffe Amadeus fundraiser culminates Friday, Oct. 5, 4-9 p.m., at the coffee shop, 628 Philadelphia St., Indiana. Phone: 724-349-0540.
Sidebar: How this story was reported
This story is an abbreviated version of a class assignment in the Writing for Print Media course taught by professor Michele Papakie in the Journalism Department at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Reporter Keith Vislay, 22, a senior English major from West Miflin, is a student in that class.