In 2008, our family supported Luke Romano at a Chair-ity event at Orenda Elementary School. It was an amazing fundraiser, and we purchased a chair that still resides in our house. Luke helped my husband, Lucas, coach soccer for our son, Stephen, and Luke’s brother, Marcus, who were in the same grade.
Luke was one year older than Nick. There are so many connections between the Romano and Cammarata families that when Nick was diagnosed and I told Annette and John, they were floored. I remember Annette crying with me on the phone and they immediately showed support by giving us advice and taking Stephen when we were at the hospital.
Luke and Nick hung out a few times. I so wish I had a picture of them together. Luke needed to go for a second bone marrow transplant, and he said he would if Nick did. Nick had every intention to do just that, but passed away before he had a chance. Luke would go on to battle for 3 more years and he passed away on August 28, 2011.
I still remember going down to the hospital knowing that Luke’s time was close. Lucas and Stephen came down and there were so many people there wanting to be in Luke’s presence. Before Luke passed he told his parents that he didn’t want a separate foundation. It didn’t make sense. He wanted to join together with Nick’s Fight to be Healed and support our mission.
His family has done just that. Luke’s Legacy organizes and supports our Family Hope Bags, and they provide two scholarships for students attending Niskayuna and Shenendehowa High Schools who plan to study equestrian science. Perhaps Luke’s greatest impact is Luke’s pillow that complements Nick’s Comfort Bag. When Luke was diagnosed, his aunt gave him this cozy down pillow, and Luke would always travel with it to the hospital.
That pillow is the favorite part of the comfort bag according to all the patients who get one. Luke battled cancer for seven years, relapsing four time. He lived a lifetime in his 18 years, but it will never be enough. The world lost such a beautiful and dynamic person when Luke joined my Nick, but his legacy lives on, and his impact far reaching.
Annette shares that this journey is for the entire family and although there are commonalities, each child’s journey is unique. Each family member has needs, and we need to provide a wide array of support–physical, medical, financial, emotional, and social.
Their hope is that we will be a voice and advocate for high quality, comprehensive support for families affected by childhood cancer. Being part of Nick’s Fight to be Healed helps the Romano family continue Luke’s Legacy.
Our children live on in our memories, the friendships and bonds they have shared, and the volunteers who choose to dedicate their time in their memory.
Thank you to everyone who read their stories, volunteer, donate, and give back. You have truly have had an impact.