Even though the annual 5K in support of the Nicholas Pedone Foundation had to be cancelled this year due to Covid-19, his parents Chris and Josephine Pedone, with their foundation, will still continue to race towards their goal of putting smiles on the faces of children battling cancer.
“It’s Nicholas’s seventh heavenly birthday, which means he celebrated seven years here on Earth and he celebrated seven years in heaven,” Josephine Pedone said. “It’s a very special year.”
Seven-year-old Nicholas, who lived in Glen Cove, died in 2013 from Neuroblastoma, a rare and deadly form of childhood cancer. And since then, the Pedone’s have been operating the foundation in his memory, which has not only provided for a way to carry on his legacy, but also a method of healing.
And with September being Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, the goal is to raise $1 million dollars through a virtual fundraiser. As of Sept. 8, $981,431 has been raised.
The virtual fundraiser coincides with the City of Glen Cove’s establishment of Nicholas Pedone Day on Aug. 30, Nicholas’s birthday. The city council approved the day to be dedicated in Nicholas’s honor at the council meeting on Aug.25.
“Nicholas’s parents honor his life every other day with the work they do to help other families struggling through childhood cancer, so I was so happy to honor the birthdate of that sweet little boy I’d see playing with his cousins at Pryibil’s Beach,” Councilwoman Dr. Eve Lupenko Ferrante said.
“The [establishment] of Nicholas Pedone Day has been extremely emotional for us to know that Nicholas made such a huge impact on our community and Glen Cove,” Josephine Pedone said. “It really brings a lot of peace to our lives to know that a little boy of seven years of age, having gone through what he had gone through will be remembered and thought of. It means the world to us.”
“He will never be forgotten in our lives and it’s obvious that Glen Cove will never forget Nicholas,” Josephine said. “It’s really, very touching.”
With $18,569 away from the $1 million goal, the Pedone’s are hoping that donors will give Nicholas the “best birthday gift ever.”
The money raised through this fundraiser, according to the foundation’s website, will help support the operations under the Nicholas Pedone Foundation; including raising awareness for childhood cancer, smilePAKs for Cancer Warriors, which brings care packages to children battling cancer and Hop4Kids, a hospital outreach program that works to improve a child’s healing process during their time in a hospital or cancer clinic.
“Our mission is to deliver smiles to courageous kids fighting cancer and Nicholas’s biggest asset during his fight was his smile,” Josephine Pedone said. “He was resilient and he adapted to his new normal really quickly. When we founded his foundation in his memory, all we wanted to do was to help keep those smiles on the faces of kids fighting cancer.”
No child should have to battle cancer, Josephine said, so to honor Nicholas’s memory by helping other children through their fight brings peace to the Pedone family. “Nicholas’s smiles live on through all of us and his smile lives on through all of these kids,” Josephine said.
It does so through her son’s legacy and life that is reflected in the children that the Nicholas Pedone Foundation impacts. “His smiles live on through our efforts to help other kids, to raise awareness for childhood cancer,” Josephine said, “and hope that one day there will be a cure so that no child will lose their smile to cancer like Nicholas did and no parent will lose their child to cancer like we did.”
Besides donating to the Nicholas Pedone Foundation and childhood cancer research foundations, Josephine is asking that people raise awareness by “going gold.”
“Our number one goal is to raise awareness,” she said. “People can go gold in September. Gold is the awareness ribbon for childhood cancer, so whether you change your profile picture or tie a ribbon around a tree, just go gold to honor these warriors, these angels and the survivors of childhood cancer.”
And even though participants of the 5K will not be racing in support of the foundation at Glen Cove High School this year, Josephine called the Glen Cove City School District one of the most important supporters of the foundation by offering the school grounds in honor of one of their former students.
“I myself did not know the young boy when he passed; I came to the district a year after, but he touched the lives of so many people and he was a Glen Cove student and he always will be a part of our Glen Cove family,” Dr. Maria Rianna, the Glen Cove City School District superintendent said. “The foundation does good things, so we’re absolutely in support of that.”
To support and learn more about the Nicholas Pedone Foundation, visit www.fighthardsmilebig.org.