St Jude may be a hospital in Memphis Tennessee but it saves the lives of kids in their hometown. Vincent Russitano of Holland Patent is one of those kids.

Vincent was a typical 7-year-old boy who loved climbing trees, playing baseball, and running around like a crazy kid. On October 15, 2008, that all changed. His second-grade teacher, who his mom Kristie calls his guardian angel, believed he had a visual processing issue.

Brain Tumor Discovered

A visit to the eye doctor showed large optic nerves and an MRI discovered a brain tumor. Vincent was immediately sent to Upstate University in Syracuse where he underwent surgery. Due to the location of his tumor on his brain stem, doctors couldn't remove all of it.

"We were advised that it would be a couple of weeks before we had biopsy results," said Kristie. "It was sent to other hospitals to be evaluated, one of those hospitals was St. Jude."

Chemo Plan

Doctors came up with a 14-month chemotherapy treatment plan that Vincent would receive through an IV.

The chemo came to an end in 2010 when Vincent was 9. His tumor had shrunk and became dormant.

My son persevered and was able to get rid of the walker and wheelchair he needed after surgery. At age 13 he learned to ride a bike. At 14 he decided he wanted to ride a dirt bike - so he did and he raced for about 3 years.

Credit - Kristie Russitano
Credit - Kristie Russitano

Tumor Grows Again

The tumor started to grow again when Vincent was 16. This time he underwent a year of targeted chemo which was very different than the IV chemo he received before.

A third round of chemo was needed in 2020.

Four years later Vincent is doing well. He's graduated high school with a regents diploma, has a full-time job, bought himself a truck he loves, and is a dad to an amazing Red Tick/Australian Shepard named Rooster.

The drastic difference in the type of chemotherapy treatment my son received from when he was 7 to when he was 16 was amazing. He was able to attend school full time, and he didn't lose his hair, which is important at that age. The difference is because of research projects at St Jude funded from fundraisers.

Credit - Kristie Russitano
Credit - Kristie Russitano

Grateful for St Jude

Kristie is thankful St Jude was there to help come up with a treatment plan that saved her son, all without having to leave his home, his friends, or his school.

St Jude is an amazing place that cares for children that are under their direct care or at hospitals throughout the country that benefit from the many research projects that they assist in funding. Only 4% of Cancer funding from our Federal government is used for pediatric cancer research. This is why fundraisers such as this are so important.

Become a Partner in Hope

Become a Partner in Hope and save more kids like Vincent during our Country Cares Radiothon, presented by Drain Master. Call 800-995-5257 or donate online at St Jude.

Thank You Gifts

To thank you for supporting St Jude Children's Research Hospital and becoming a Partner in Hope you'll have the honor of joining the country community with a 'This Shirt Saves Live ' t-shirt AND a We Won't Stop hoodie. The first 100 Partners in Hope will get their choice of 2 vouchers for any Utica Comets hockey game this season or 5 Hoffman Car Washes. One lucky person will win tickets to see Brooks & Dunn at SPAC.

Meet the Patients of St Jude Your Donation Helps Save

Meet the patients of St Jude Children's Research Hospital that your monthly Partner in Hope donations helps save.

Gallery Credit: Credit - Polly McAdams

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