by Enrico Doggett
The Marchegiana Society of Chicago Heights stepped outside its normal holiday routine to share the tidings of the season with hospitalized children at the Comer Children’s Hospital at the University of Chicago.
Usually, the annual Christmas party produces donations to assist needy families during the holiday season. Each year, the families that have been identified as candidates for assistance receive an unrestricted check to allow them to pursue the holiday as they are accustomed to and purchase those items they feel are necessary for their enjoyment. This practice has been carried out for the last 20 years.
Then, three years ago, an even greater tragedy struck a society family. Rocco DeBergh, the 2-year-old nephew of society President Ron Lucarini, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL, the most common form of children’s leukemia, but a variety that has been the target of extensive research over the last few years.
Doctors began treatment almost immediately, as the goal is to attack the cancer as soon as possible and halt whatever progress it has made. The prescribed treatment was chemotherapy, a difficult choice for Rocco and his family, as we are all familiar with the devastating physical ravages chemotherapy can wreak on the human body, especially in the case of a small child.
But Rocco and his parents were determined to defeat this unwelcome thief of childhood. When you combine the winning attitude of a little boy, the concern of his family and friends, and the experience of the doctors at Comer, sometimes everything works as it should, as it did in this case. Rocco’s cancer is now in remission, and he is waiting for a clean bill of health that could come as quickly as next July.
To celebrate his progress and the work of the doctors at Comer, the Marchegiana Society Board of Directors voted to suspend their normal holiday procedure and to honor the physicians at Comer with a $1,000 donation in the name of Rocco DeBergh.