When Nick was diagnosed with cancer during the summer of 2008, our close friends, Iris and Alex Marsal, decided to have a pig roast to bring family and friends together to honor and support him. Nick was a big fan of pig roasts and was always very family oriented, loving our big gatherings.
That first year was the only year that we had to change the date to that Sunday because of the rain. Nick was in his element, not letting anything get him down. He hung out with his friends playing Dominoes, cards, and chowing down on pork. This was one of the huge highlights of his summer.
Nick had to be admitted that night to begin a new round of chemo. We managed to get a couple more hours, but finally he and I had to leave our loved ones and head to Albany Medical Center for the next treatment that we hoped would cure him. That was one of the very few times that Nick cried during his battle. The separation and isolation is almost unbearable, and my heart broke for the boy who could no longer run around until he literally dropped. He had the responsibility of saving his own life. What a weight to put on a child’s shoulders.
After Nick’s Fight to be Healed Foundation was formed, the Marsal’s decided to make this event into a fundraiser. They invited their friends and others who believed in the cause and it slowly grew. Each year, we remember Nick’s laughter, his love of big gatherings, and what it takes to help families get through hard times.
Every year Nick sends one of us a sign that he’s with us and knows what we are doing in his name. The pig roast grows and more people are brought into our tight family, including our Melodies families. Kids like Chase and Abby are able to run around, play games and win fun prizes. Young adults like Kendra and Brittney are happy to help out or just relax and feel the love of those around them.
This year was our 9th pig roast and was yet again a fabulous way to remember Nick and raise money for our families who need support. It’s moments like these that I really miss my boy, because I could see him continuing to come to this event playing Dominoes and celebrating the love that everyone shares for each other.
Organizing and putting on an event in their backyard for over 100 people is no small feat, but Iris, Alex and their daughters, Olivia and Alyssia, make it look easy. I know they do it out of their love for us, for Nick, and for how much they miss him. It heals on so many levels and our family continues to grow.