Using Feet To Defeat Pediatric Cancer

Tags: Currents, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, NY, Cancer, Donations, Xaverian High School

By Tim Harfmann

Members of the Xaverian High School community, took the disease sternly and in stride during a fundraiser on Saturday, May 18.

Thomas Guardavaccaro was diagnosed when he was eight years old. Now 14 and a freshman at the Catholic school, he described the pain cancer caused his family.

“It was a very difficult time. It put me and my family into a very negative place, but we bounced back and now everyone’s really happy,” said Thomas.

Nearly 300 people walked two miles along Brooklyn’s shoreline to raise over $20,000 for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center — the place Thomas says saved his life.

“The event really means a lot to me that Xaverian, as a community, is coming together to raise money for other kids battling for their lives.”

The Catholic school also sold t-shirts, bracelets, and headphones for the cause.

Caitlin Mullin, a junior at Xaverian, was diagnosed when she was in first grade and also received treatments at Sloan Kettering. “Doctors found a tumor in my eye, so I had to go through two years of chemotherapy at Sloan Kettering. So, when I heard about this event at my school, I was actually so excited,” said Caitlin because it was an opportunity for her to share how the pediatric ward eased her suffering. “It really makes all the kids feel like they’re at home. It makes them feel so welcomed, and it makes their experience so much easier and more comfortable.”

According to the American Cancer Society, over 10,000 children are diagnosed each year — a growing number in recent decades. After accidents, cancer is the second leading cause of death in children ages one-to-fourteen.

Deacon Kevin McCormack, principal of the Bay Ridge school, said hosting the event expressed Catholic values; “It made so much sense. What we’re all about is that we build the Kingdom of God in everything that we do. Whether it’s in the classroom or the things we do personally, that’s important in what you expect from us. But we also have to give back.”

Giving back by putting one foot in front of the other and fighting for a cure.