Before Nicholas Cleary was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma, his mother, Lisa, and aunt, Nicole, often talked about participating in the Boston Marathon® Jimmy Fund Walk presented by Hyundai and had contributed to other Walk teams in the past. So when Nicholas was diagnosed at 22-months old, Nicole and Lisa knew right away they would start a team.
“I’ve always supported organizations like the Jimmy Fund,” says Nicole. “But it has a totally different meaning when you are experiencing cancer first-hand.”
A first-year team, “Hope for Nicholas” has raised a significant amount of money and recruited 34 team members. The family is humbled by the support from their community in Franklin, Mass. and beyond. Moments after Nicole posted the link to the “Hope for Nicholas” fundraising page to Facebook, contributions from people she barely knew began to come in.
“So many people have been so generous and amazing in these circumstances,” Nicole says.
Nicholas’ family is motivated to give back to the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute for the exceptional care Nicholas has received during his treatment. Although Lisa and her husband, Greg, wish they did not have to be there, she is thankful the staff in the Jimmy Fund Clinic makes their time at the Institute comfortable during Nicholas’ sometimes 6- to 9-hour days at the clinic.
“They really try to make your time fly by while providing exceptional care,” Lisa says.
After his first round of chemotherapy, Nicholas, now 2, began to act like his old self again. Nicholas is a normal, talkative kid, Lisa says, and if he isn’t throwing a temper tantrum, he is smiling ear-to-ear.
“None of this has really knocked him down,” says Lisa.
Although the team will be missing some of the Cleary family on Walk day, 34 friends and family members will all be together in spirit, trekking 13.1 miles in matching “Hope for Nicholas” t-shirts. That day, Nicholas and his parents will be at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center where Nicholas recently received a stem-cell transplant.
“We are a very close family; we take lots of pictures and put everything on Facebook, so everyone can always see what we are doing, and how much credit we are always giving to the Jimmy Fund, Dana-Farber, and Boston Children’s Hospital,” Nicole says. “Without those resources we would be nowhere, and we are all eternally grateful.”
The Boston Marathon® Jimmy Fund Walk presented by Hyundai will take place September 27, 2015 along the historic Boston Marathon route. More information is available on the Jimmy Fund Walk website.