(Holmes, PA) – HEADstrong founder Nicholas Colleluori one day dreamed of being an elementary school teacher in the Ridley School District. In fact, he was pursuing a degree in early childhood education at Hofstra University when he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in the fall of 2006. His diagnosis only fueled his commitment and interest to having an impact on children, especially those touched by cancer. Over the past 8 years Colleluori’s creation, the HEADstrong Foundation™ has continued to evolve, raising over $7 million dollars, supporting over 11,000 cancer patients and families nationwide. HEADstrong is strengthening their commitment to pediatric cancer through new involvement with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Children’s Health in Dallas, Texas.
Children from all over the country are finding hope and strength in Colleluori’s life from hosting events to doing school projects to writing songs. At the 5th Annual Lime Light Gala, HF President and Nick’s Mom Cheryl Colleluori shared that this May, the inspirational story of Colleluori brothers and the HEADstrong Foundation™ will be the center of a new children’s book, entitled Laced Together. Proceeds from the book will support HEADstrong’s pediatric cancer initiatives.
The book is intended to assist the organization in educating and empowering elementary school students throughout the country. Laced Together, is the story of two young brothers who must separate because of illness but find a way to stay connected with a shared lime green shoelace, both remaining brave and forever HEADstrong.
Bringing the children’s book to life was an emotional process with the Colleluori family directly involved with creating the story board. They empowered children’s illustrator Michael Mann, best known for the illustration of Wiggle E. Tooth written by Rosemary Mele as well as a panel of current and retired elementary school teachers who helped shape the direction of story. The end result is an incredibly uplifting 27-page story which will help inspire and empower children to make a difference. #27 was the number that Colleluori wore during his entire lacrosse career and has great significance to the organization.
HEADstrong is underway with the development of an educational assembly program for schools as well as a book tour with appearances at of several children’s libraries and hospitals.
“Our Nick aspired to be an educator, a coach and a counselor. His passion for being a mentor and empowering others inspired us to create Laced Together. This is a story that teachers, parents and even coaches can share with their students, children and players. It is a positive way to share the realities that many families touched by cancer face, the role that families plays and the special bond between siblings. Each page is filled with lessons that all children can learn from including important topics facing today’s students such as bullying, peer pressure, standing up for others in addition to the cancer topic. We hope that this book will help foster conversations between parents and their children and help children to appreciate the different situations that some of their classmates may be living through. Our hope is to engage a new audience with proceeds benefitting families affected by pediatric cancer.” said Cheryl Colleluori, HF President and Nick’s Mom
Please visit, www.HEADstrong.org to learn more about Laced Together and how HEADstrong is improving the quality of life for cancer patients and their families.