#RunforRoman to benefit from Running aHEAD of Cancer 5k in Swarthmore

By: Jennifer Hoffman

Nicole and Drew Tiberi’s whole life changed when their two year old son, Roman was diagnosed with leukemia. Their extremely healthy little boy, who loved to run around, explore and be a rambunctious toddler, was now going to be fighting for his life before he could even form sentences. 

“You don’t really feel human after your baby has been diagnosed with cancer.  You instantly feel isolated” said Nicole. 

In early June 2019, Roman had what everyone thought was just a virus for about a week. However, Nicole noticed that his skin was discolored. Roman’s pediatrician took a blood sample and the results showed that his red blood cell count was extremely low. 

Nicole then took Roman to CHOP for a probable blood transfusion, and received the news that she couldn’t have ever fathomed. Roman’s cells were abnormal and showed leukemia. In a span of just a few hours, Roman was admitted to the oncology floor and would begin treatment immediately. 

That’s how quick their lives were flipped upside down. 

Roman is now in month 3 of treatment which is two doses of chemo every 10 days through his port. After the first few rounds of treatment, Roman is showing zero residual signs of any cancer. “We are currently in about a two year plan of treatment to ensure that his bone marrow doesn’t create new cancer.  Other than the treatments, meds, and clinic visits, Roman is living a very normal life “ said Nicole. 

Drew, Nicole and Roman will be one of the families benefiting from the HEADstrong Running aHEAD of Cancer 5k in Swarthmore on 9/22. 

This will be their first official HEADstrong event, but Nicole and her husband have known the Colleluori family for years. 

“When HEADstrong reached out to us, there was a sense of relief.  Something to look forward to. We were humbled that they contacted us, and started their acts of support almost immediately.  For our Roman to be honored at such an admirable event, is unbelievable. We are so proud of our boy, and beyond grateful for the Colleluori family “ remarked Nicole. 

For Nicole and Roman, having the support of HEADstrong and the local community throughout their ordeal with cancer, makes it a little easier to know they aren’t alone. Their life has changed, but it’s not over.  “Life will never be the same.  We will never look at things the same again.  Roman is so strong and brave, and we have no other plans, other than to be as strong for him.  Things that mattered before, don’t matter to us. Our priorities changed, goals are stronger, helping others and connecting for people has been a main focus “ said Nicole.

To learn more about the Running aHEAD of Cancer 5k and to learn how you can help support families like Roman’s please visit www.headstrong.org/run