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A Parent's Fight to Help

As she was writing part three of her fiction book series, Janine Cammarata hit a road block.

“The non-fiction stuff kept popping into my head,” she says. “I knew that I had to stop everything else and write it.”

She is living the “non-fiction stuff." Her words share the stories of her son Nick and eight other kids just like him. The nine are all cancer patients. Once strangers, they are now eternally linked by their battle with a terrible disease.

“I got very connected to all the families and really hoped for these young adults to heal,” says Janine, the president of the Nick’s Fight to be Healed Foundation. “A lot of them reminded me of my son.”

Nick was just 13 when he lost his fight with cancer.

Nick Cammarata

Luke Romano, another of the young adults whose story Janine tells, was just 17. Her book, What Makes Them Amazing: Inspiring Stories of Young Adults Fighting Cancer, shares special moments from the lives of Nick and Luke, as well as seven others ages 13 to 24 who are still battling on. Janine says the determination and the selfless caring shown by those affected is truly inspiring.

“Quite a few of them have relapsed, and despite having to face some pretty hard obstacles, like re-learning how to walk or swallow, they still stay positive and they wanted to do something for other children too,” Janine said.

Which is what Nick’s Fight to be Healed Foundation is all about, helping others. Proceeds from the sale of Janine’s book support the foundation, which along with many volunteers, works to improve the quality of life for children and young adults who have cancer. This is done, in large part, through support of a child life specialist for the Melodies Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at the Children’s Hospital at Albany Med. 

Comfort bags with items specifically chosen for individual patients are one of the many ways Nick's Foundation helps the children of Albany Med.
Comfort bags with items specifically chosen for individual patients are one of the many ways Nick's Foundation helps the children of Albany Med.
With the help of the child life specialist, the foundation provides “comfort bags” including DVDs, games, and gift cards all with an eye on uniquely and positively impacting the life of each patient.

The inspiration to write this book came easily to Janine. The actual writing was difficult, but at times, cathartic.

“It’s been a very hard process as I re-live a lot of it. I feel very connected to all the kids and when they suffer, I suffer. It’s important that they learn there’s always hope. It’s helped me to heal. It also gives them something that will inspire them to grow.”

Her words cannot cure cancer. They can, however, help children and their families create images and memories that will never fade. 

Copies of What Makes Them Amazing are available by clicking here. The book debuted at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library on Sunday, December 2 at 2pm.  More information can be found at www.fighttobehealed.org.

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