Building a Team of Champions to Combat Blood Cancer
How has blood cancer affected me?
My name is Cheryl Colleluori; President of the HEADstrong Foundation and the lucky one that our founder, Nicholas “HEAD” Colleluori called Mom.
Blood cancer has forever altered my life by taking the life of my 3rd child, Nicholas. Blood cancer has left a gaping hole in my heart as each day I ache for my baby. What I wouldn’t do to hear his voice or to touch his hand. What I wouldn’t give to see him play lacrosse again or listen to him as he tells one of his infamous stories with that infectious smile of his. I question why him when he has so much to offer society. I shed tears everyday as our family tries to cope to a life without Nick. It is so difficult for me to look forward to things, like the holidays or waking up without his presence. I can’t even imagine growing old without him. But I take one day at a time and focus much of my time on how I can honor my Nick so that he is never forgotten and others can benefit from his life.
Blood cancer has taught me that we don’t control anytime in our lives. I couldn’t control how this disease destroyed my son. I could only watch the destruction as he did all he could to battle relentlessly against Lymphoma. I did my best to make him smile and attempt to give him a normal life because that was all he asked for, to be normal again. Our normal life had transformed into month long stays in the hospital where our family set up camp and Nick’s room became our home. Chemotherapy treatments and blood transfusions became our routine. Our world for 14 months centered on Nick giving him the support and love he needed to deal with this disease. This disease became our disease.
What I can control is doing all I can do to fight this disease by leading the HEADstrong Foundation, increasing the revenues so that we can fully supporting research efforts so that maybe someday a cure can be found and others spared the anguish.
On September 21, 2005 when my son was diagnosed, blood cancer became my enemy. Blood cancer has chosen the wrong mother to play with. I promised my son I would do everything in my power to end this disease and since November 28th 2006 when Nick’s life ended, my fight began. I push through my grief for Nick and focus my efforts on defeating this disease and improving the lives of those affected.
Nick taught me so many things in his short 21 years as he much wiser than most. He taught me that even when faced with uncertainty and the possibility of death, keep smiling and focus on the good that life has to offer. My son showed the ultimate act of selflessness with his work on HEADstrong Foundation as he underwent a stem cell transplant and radiation in an attempt to save his life. His concern for others will always be remembered and he has left an unbelievable legacy. I’m so proud of him and the legacy he has left.
As we continue to build our team of champions to combat the disease that took Nick from me, I appeal to you to join so that others will be spared the anguish of blood cancer. Please visit our website to learn more and to see how you can get involved.