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StrikeOut Cancer grants wishes

Organization founded by Concordia student helps fundraise for Make-a-Wish Quebec

Anthony Pacella, a Concordia student studying management at the John Molson School of Business (JMSB) created StrikeOut Cancer, an organization which holds events to fundraise for initiatives to help those living with cancer. StrikeOut Cancer was created as a surprise for his mother Mary Melillo Pacella, who was diagnosed with lung cancer. Before the passing of his mother, Pacella told her about StrikeOut Cancer, to which he said she gave Pacella a thumbs up in approval.

“[In] August of 2010, my mother was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer,” Pacella said. His family was devastated—his mother had never smoked cigarettes, he said.

Anthony Pacella photographed with Chakameh, the most recent child he helped. Photo courtesy of Anthony Pacella

“Unfortunately, my mother lost her life at the age of 52 to cancer on January 6, 2011,” Pacella said. “She left this world with two young children and a great husband.”

Pacella had been raising money for StrikeOut Cancer initiatives during her treatment, however, he began planning his first events for the organization less than a few weeks after his mother’s passing.

Three months after his mother’s passing, StrikeOut Cancer hosted their first event, a Bowl-A-Thon, which is now an annual event held each spring. The Bowl-A-Thon is geared towards families in order to raise money for the St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation in Montreal—the same hospital where Pacella’s mother received treatment. He was 15 years old when he organized the first Bowl-A-Thon.

In addition, StrikeOut Cancer organizes an annual gala in support of Make-A-Wish Quebec to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses. Pacella said the gala is held in November, with tickets available for $100. The cost covers the event and a full-course dinner.

“We raise thousands of dollars to make a child’s wishes come true,” Pacella said. He wanted StrikeOut Cancer to be involved with Make-A-Wish Quebec to contribute towards making children happy, he added.

“We continue to strive and expand in order to help our community, but most importantly, our goal is to make a young child’s wishes come true,” said Pacella.

Pacella said while he enjoyed working with St. Mary’s Hospital, he wanted to expand the StrikeOut Cancer initiative.

Pacella photographed with his mother Mary Melillo Pacella. Photos courtesy of Anthony Pacella.

“I wanted to make a greater impact, and I feel like my $10,000 [raised] wouldn’t find the cure to cancer,” Pacella said. “But my $10,000 could hopefully impact a child’s life.”

StrikeOut Cancer has helped three children so far. “They all wanted to go to Disneyland,” Pacella said.

The most recent gala, which was held on Nov. 7, 2016, honoured Chakameh, an eight-year-old diagnosed with leukemia.

“During my stay at Concordia, I hope that more people of Concordia hear about StrikeOut and I hope to continuously gain more support,” Pacella said.

Pacella hopes to have more support and involve more people in the StrikeOut Cancer initiative. He encourages anyone who is interested to contact him—he is particularly looking for volunteers to promote ticket sales, obtain more sponsors and spread awareness about StrikeOut Cancer.

For more information about StrikeOut Cancer and details on their upcoming Bowl-A-Thon, visit StrikeOut Cancer’s website or Facebook page. This year’s Bowl-A-Thon will be held on May 28 in at 1 p.m. at Le Centre de Quilles 440, 2535 boul Curé-Labelle in Laval.

About Savanna Craig