Row Madness

“Row Madness” raises over $10,000 for ADL Scholarship



By Ron Giofu


Members of the Garage Gym gathered with friends and family at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery to raise money for a local charity.

“Row Madness” took over the local winery with proceeds going to The Addolorata De Luca Leadership (ADL) Scholarship, founded by Amherstburg resident and recent University of Windsor graduate Cessidia DeBiasio. Tony Smith, who co-owns the Garage Gym with wife Dani, compared the type of event to the famed NCAA basketball tournament held every spring.

“It’s a rowing event, similar to the March Madness event,” he said.

The Garage Gym’s “Row Madness” event featured approximately 80 competitors, he said.

“We’re pitting 17 teams against each other,” said Smith.

Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery donated use of the facility for the day and G.L. Heritage Brewing Co. also partnered with the Garage Gym.

“We have all kinds of donations,” he stated. “It would be impossible to list them off.”

The Garage Gym held “Row Madness” Nov. 25 at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery to benefit the Addolorata De Luca Leadership (ADL) Scholarship. The event raised over $10,000. Winston McAllister was one of the participants and was encouraged by his wife and teammate Trish during the event.

The Garage Gym regularly supports local charities, Smith continued, and they were impressed by DeBiasio and her charity.

“We chose this one because we are so impressed by the young lady who is behind it,” he said.

Teams were comprised of Garage Gym members and members of their family and friends. Support for the event has been “unreal,” he added, noting a minimum donation of $100 was required in able to participate in the rowing tournament.

The person with the most pledges wins an opportunity to participate in a transformation program at Garage Gym.

DeBiasio told the crowd that “each and every one of you is making a difference” in helping a student become a contributor to the community. Every single dollar raised goes to the scholarship, named in honour of her grandmother, she added.

“I’m truly grateful,” said DeBiasio. “It means a lot.”

DeBiasio said she has been working on the ADL Scholarship for about three years and has raised $25,000. Once $40,000 is raised, two scholarships can be awarded, but she would be happy to offer even more.

For more information on the scholarship itself, visit The public can keep up on the ADL Scholarship on Facebook @theadlscholarship and Instagram @theadlscholarship.

“Row Madness” sees Garage Gym team with local charity



By Ron Giofu


The Garage Gym is hosting its “Row Madness” event again this year and a scholarship started by a local woman will be the beneficiary.

The Addolorata De Luca Leadership (ADL) Scholarship was recently selected by The Garage Gym as the charity of choice Nov. 25 “Row Madness” fundraising event. The fundraiser will be held at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery from 12-6 p.m. this Sunday with the winery serving its product with G.L. Heritage Brewing Co. also scheduled to be on hand pouring their craft beer.

There will be music, drinks and The License to Sear food truck will be available to anyone who wants to come and support the competitors and the charity.

Cessidia DeBiasio, founder of the ADL Scholarship, said the ownership at the Garage Gym is very supportive of the community and believe in giving back. She said people can take part in groups or individually or they can just come out to support the cause and cheer the rowers on.

“All the money is directed to the scholarship,” she said. “It’s a great way to increase community awareness, comradery and teamwork.”

Individuals and teams will be completing 42,195m in a rowing marathon style. Participants are asked to each raise $100 in pledges. Top individual fundraisers and team fundraisers (teams consist of five individuals) will receive prizes. It will consist of members from The Garage Gym, located in Amherstburg and Kingsville, as well as community members.

DeBiasio stated the event is open to all skill levels, ages and strengths. She noted that 100 per cent of donations given to the ADL Scholarship are used to provide scholarships to deserving first or second generation Canadian student leaders at The University of Windsor.

“These students are giving back to our Windsor-Essex community and the University of Windsor,” she said.

DeBiasio is hopeful that this year’s “Row Madness” is as successful as last year’s event, as this is her first year as the charity of choice. Last year’s fundraising event, held by Garage Gym, hosted over 300 Garage Gym clients and community members and received “significant media attention,” she said. For more information on the

Event, please visit: or

Companies and individuals can also sponsor the event, with DeBiasio calling it “a great marketing tool” for them. She said when money is donated to a smaller charity like the ADL Scholarship, it has a great impact.

“The fact that (Garage Gym co-owner Tony Smith) is supporting a small, grassroots charity is amazing because it shows what type of leader he is,” said DeBiasio, who noted she was “over the moon” when she learned the ADL Scholarship was chosen. “It’s nice to see he really does help everyone.”

DeBiasio said she has been working on the ADL Scholarship for about three years and has raised $25,000, good for one scholarship thus far. She is hopeful of reaching at least $40,000 so that two scholarships can be awarded, but would be even happier to offer even more.

“The more money we raise, the more scholarships we can give out and the more students we can help,” she said.

To register a team, register as an individual, to get pledge sheets, or to get more information on joining another team, please e-mail For more information or to learn about sponsorship opportunities, e-mail or

For more information on the scholarship itself, visit The public can keep up on the ADL Scholarship on Facebook @theadlscholarship and Instagram @theadlscholarship.