MFAC & “Little Papi” Pitch for the Cure

MFAC & “Little Papi” Pitch for the Cure

MFAC was proud and honored on June 26 at Fenway Park when founder and chairman, Frank Strauss accompanied 
5 year-old cancer patient, Luciano “Little Papi” Quagliaroli for the opening pitch.

Luciano’s Fight

LucianoAt four years old, Luciano had what any parent would assume was just a bump on the head. Their family practitioner and the specialist agreed the bump was merely a fatty cyst, but to be certain the specialist recommended surgery to remove it. In the two weeks leading up to the surgery the bump had grown to 1/3 the size of a golf ball. The surgeon found the lump to be larger than was expected, and, after running tests, discovered that the lump was not a cyst.

A week later Luciano’s parents returned to the doctor’s office only to learn that Luciano was diagnosed with Leukemia.

Luciano’s family had decisions to make. Looking to their faith and with the support and prayers of family and friends, they were able to sort through the sad and difficult time, and make the choices that would give their son a fighting chance to overcome Leukemia. Up-rooting their lives, they moved from Florida to Boston, in effort to give Luciano the best care in the country.

Children’s Hospital Boston and the Dana Farber Institute worked together to map out a treatment plan for Luciano, which would span a minimum of 25 months. On the day following his first day of treatment, his parents recall Luciano rocking out to the Who’s “Love reign over me.” It was clear that his battle against Leukemia was one that he would fight. Luciano has a wild imagination, extraordinary spirit, and a big heart. He writes on the hospital’s blog his parents created thanking people for their kind words and support. Like every child, Luciano enjoys snowball fights, pizza, hash browns, hot coco, and playtime with his 8 year-old sister, Talia. However, Luciano’s reality is very different from that of most children. During his treatment, he spends a lot of his time in a hospital bed hooked up to IVs, monitors, and machines, and pulls clumps of hair from his head, but he finds humor even in that; “Bald is beautiful,” he says with a laugh.

This June, Luciano was selected to throw the first pitch at the June 21st Red Sox game at Fenway. True to character Luciano joked that the catcher should consider some extra padding for his mitt. Afterall, his “Swiffle ball” zooms hundreds of miles to Africa!

The day arrived and Luciano’s name was announced over the speakers. The Fenway crowd erupted in cheers for the little comedian as he threw the first pitch. His parents recall the proud moment, hearing the crowd’s reaction and watching their little boy on the baseball diamond throwing his “Swiffle ball”.

Luciano is responding to treatment and he is on his way to recovering, but his fight against Leukemia is all but over. His adoring family fights with him every day. They keep his spirits strong and his laughter even stronger. Luciano, the little comedian, is fighting the battle and he is fighting to conquer.

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