Staten Island

NYC Man Honors Late Wife Killed on 9/11 With Holiday Lights, Helps Raise Fund for Kids

Joseph DiMartino has raised over $300,000 for the Children's Cancer Center at Staten Island University since the display was erected in 2002

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What to Know

  • Joseph DiMartino spends months decorating his Staten Island home with colorful lights and dioramas to honor his late wife who died on 9/11
  • Dubbed the "Lights for Life," the decorations also serve as a fundraiser for the Children's Cancer Center at Staten Island University
  • DiMartino doesn't charge a dime for anyone who wish to take a stroll around his home at 107 Sharrotts Rd. and only asks for donations

One Christmas display in New York City is shining bright above all others because it's spreading both the holiday joy as well as the spirit of giving.

Joseph DiMartino spends months decorating his Staten Island home with colorful lights and elaborate dioramas featuring animatronics of elves and Santa Clause − all in the honor of his late wife, Debra Ann, who was among those killed in the 9/11 attacks.

It's a win-win situation. I'm helping sick children and keeping the memory of my late wife alive.

Joseph DiMartino

Dubbed the "Lights for Life," the decorations bring joy to the community but they also serve as a fundraiser for the Children's Cancer Center at Staten Island University.

"It's a win-win situation. I'm helping sick children and keeping the memory of my late wife alive," DiMartino tells NBC New York.

He has raised over $300,000 for the children's hospital since the display was erected in 2002.

DiMartino doesn't charge a dime for anyone who wish to take a stroll around his home at 107 Sharrotts Rd. and only asks for donations. He welcomes all visitors everyday at 5 p.m. from Thanksgiving until the New Year.

WE ARE OPEN!! 🎅🏼🎄Nothing puts you in the Christmas Spirit more than strolling through the #Lights4Life Christmas...

Posted by Lights for Life on Monday, December 2, 2019

This was the first year that DiMartino went digital with the donations.

Visitors can donate with a dip of their debit or credit card. And if you can't make it to Staten Island but still want to donate, DiMartino even set up a Venmo account at @Joseph-DiMartino-7.

And what's a holiday display without Santa? DiMartino even arranged for Saint Nick to make appearances at his home on the two weekends leading up to Christmas.

On Dec. 14, Dec. 15, Dec. 21 and Dec. 22, Santa will be there to listen to children's holiday wishes from 7 p.m. - 8 p.m., according to DiMartino.

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