Positive Steps Forward

Stephen Cammarata and Dante Gallucci finally meet! Photo courtesy of Michael A. Panzarino of M.A.P. Graphics

Dante Gallucci’s fundraiser to give back to Make-a-Wish was an incredible success.  Stephen had been wanting to meet Dante since he was originally diagnosed. Stephen had found out about Dante through his soccer teammate Cam. They both went and purchased items for Dante’s Comfort Bag which he loved and appreciated.

Even though Stephen went through Nick’s cancer journey, he wasn’t in the hospital with him very often and I’m not sure that he remembers a lot at age 11. He recently told me that he wasn’t sure how effective Nick’s Round Table was.  This teen group has about 60 members, but because of busy schedules and life in general, not everyone can make it. Stephen wanted to make sure that this group is still making a difference.

My job as a parent is to teach him to give to others and see the goodness in life because he has dealt with so much of the bad. So when he feels like there is too much ugliness in the world, I try to open his eyes.  Even though they all had a lot of homework, Stephen and three members of the round table came to Dante’s Harlem Wizards vs. Team Dante fundraiser.

Katie Collins, Stephen Cammarata, Emily Isaksen, Kelly Griggs-All members of Nick’s Round Table

Stephen was finally able to meet Dante and his mom, Teri, who gave Stephen, myself and my husband, Luke, big loving hugs.  Dante was invited to come to the next meeting on February 17 and a friendship was started.  The event was fun, moving, emotional, and filled with laughter. Stephen, Katie, Emily and Kelly saw how positive emotions can improve a cancer diagnosis. Dante had a purpose that night and he took it seriously.  The teen volunteers have a mission to help cancer patients like Dante and being there that night did just that.

Coach Dante watching his players on the court. They played their hearts out for him.

Each day we must strive to make a difference in another person’s life. January isn’t even over and the foundation is helping four families with financial assistance. Nick’s Round Table has provided a children’s program at the Hope Club, met with peers at St. Edward’s Church to talk about giving back, gone to fundraisers, worked on a video to raise awareness, organized future fundraisers, and reached out to those battling cancer. Nick’s Round Table members are the busiest in the foundation. Stephen has seen goodness firsthand and how being kind to others comes around full circle.

I am extremely proud of all the young adults who give their time to help those in need. I’m amazed at young adults like Dante Gallucci and Rachael Murray who give back during their cancer journey.  An adult who is battling cancer just told me that if those kids can do it, so can I.

I’m especially proud to say that those good deeds do not go unnoticed. Nick’s Round Table has been given an Outstanding Character Award through the Shenendehowa School District’s Board of Education.  They are recognized because of their compassion and dedication to their community. They have taken positive steps to make their world a better place.

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