A group of Plymouth Whitemarsh High School (PWHS) students will be hosting a dodgeball tournament in the Colonial Elementary School gym on Friday, May 18, 6 to 9 p.m.. to raise money for the NixCancer Foundation in honor of a fallen classmate from their time at Plymouth Elementary School (PE).
“We thought that a dodgeball tournament was a great idea because it was something that the community could all get passionate about and come together for,” said Grace Lynch, a ninth grade student at PWHS who is helping to organize the event. “The biggest reward in putting the tournament together is getting the satisfaction of knowing that you made a difference and possibly changed someone’s life for the better by donating a small amount of time to such a great cause.”
The event remembers Nick Mincarelli, who was in kindergarten at PE when he was first diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), a cancer that affects soft tissue and bones. PE Teacher Michelle Weidamoyer, served as the homebound instructor when he was undergoing treatment, in addition to being his classroom teacher when he was well enough to come to school. When Nick passed away in 2012 at age eight, Mrs. Weidamoyer worked with the Mincarellis to create the NixCancer Foundation to support families dealing with pediatric cancer and raise funds for RMS research. In 2017, the foundation put together a teen group.
“Nick would have been a freshman at PWHS, and a lot of his friends have made it very clear that they have not forgotten about him,” said Mrs. Weidamoyer, who continues to teach at PE. “It’s always been a very tight-knit community, so it’s exciting to see the students get older and more involved.”
Much of the early work done by the NixCancer Foundation centered on wish list items for sick children, including tablet computers, high-end headphones and even a first class family trip to Disney World. However, the group has refocused its efforts on establishing housing units near the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where children undergoing proton radiation and other cancer treatments can stay with their families without being exposed to other illnesses.
“Too many children get deprived of a childhood because of cancer, and that needs to be put to an end. I wish I could help everyone who has cancer, but volunteering with this foundation makes me feel like I’m doing a part in helping reach the goal of a cure to cancer,” added Grace.
The dodgeball tournament features four age groups: Under 12, 12-17, Adult (18+), and Families (mixed ages). Cost to participate is $5/person, and you can sign up as an individual or a team of six. Prizes will be given to the winning team in each category, the best team outfit and the best team name. Click here to register online. www.nixcancerfoundation.org/events