A Difficult Diagnosis Leads to Unexpected New Friends
Dante Gallucci of Rotterdam had always been active and healthy. The tall, strong sophomore played basketball, ran track and was looking forward to another year as a starting lineman on the Schalmont High varsity football team when he was sidelined by a startling diagnosis of cancer.
He was referred immediately to the Melodies Center at Albany Med, the region's only pediatric cancer facility.
"When the elevator opened the whole team was there ready to help us," recalled Dante's mother, Teri Gallucci.
Dante had a rare, aggressive type of cancer called T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma that strikes young adults and that needs immediate, intensive chemotherapy. After just one month, Dante's cancer fortunately went into remission, but he still faced many more rounds of chemo and its side effects, like weight loss and extreme weakness.
Despite the struggles, the Galluccis say they consider the medical team they have spent so much time with as "part of the family."
"Sure, it's not something you want to have," Dante said. "But it's also something I wouldn't take away now because of the special bonds I've made with the doctors, nurses and especially other kids at Albany Med."