By Mitch Schlimer
Sept. 1 was a beautiful sunny day to celebrate the start of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The seventh annual Nicholas Pedone 5K run and walk, held in Glen Cove, was a huge success with 586 runners and walkers and more than 750 participants came out in support of the Nicholas Pedone Foundation.
“The Nicholas Pedone Foundation was founded in Dec. 2013 in memory of Nicholas Pedone, and with a clear mission, especially to help other children and their families who are battling cancer and bring a smile to their faces,” Nick Pedone, the father of Nicholas said. “Nicholas had a big and infectious smile. So much so, the tag for our foundation is “Fight Hard, Smile Big.”
Nicholas was diagnosed in Oct. 2012 and passed away from cancer in May 2013 and was only seven years old. Being seven forever, the Nicholas Pedone Foundation honored him by giving $1,000 to seven honoree cancer warriors and their families who attended, while some participated in the event by walking the race. The seven warriors were Payton, Conner, Olivia, King, Maddox, Sabrina and Dylan who had a great time at the medal ceremony, where they were introduced and honored by the crowd of more than 750.
“Since starting the foundation, we have raised in excess of $750,000 dollars and are proud of what we have done with all the money. This includes donating $250,000 to create Nicky’s Nest at Cohen Children Medical Center in Lake Success,” Josephine Pedone, Nicholas’ mother said. “This year the foundation donated $94,000 to Cohen’s for a Child Life Assistant for two years, plus $25,000 in 2015 to Winthrop University Hospital for their “Game On” project which included eight large TV’s, Xboxes and more for the children and families to enjoy while their in the hospital. Nicholas was treated at the Cancer Center for Kids at Winthrop University Hospital. In 2018 the foundation donated $25,000 to the Cancer Center for kids at Winthrop Hospital for their Relax and Recharge project which included three new chemo treatment chairs.”
The Nicholas Pedone 5k is a 3.1 mile course that runs through the streets of Glen Cove, starting in the front of Glen Cove High School and finishing in the back by the football track and field. The Nicholas Pedone 5K is a USA Track and Field Certified Course and sanctioned event which makes it a legitimate race, especially for those serious runners who come from all over to participate and hopefully win including the $1,000 in prize money. A $1,000 award was given to the to top three finishers in the male/female and wheelchair categories.
The male winner was Boyd Harrington, and the female and wheelchair winners were Elizabeth Caldwell and Peter Hawkins who have supported the race by running it in the past.
Race announcer, Terry Bisogno was filled with energy and excitement as he called the race. Each finisher got to hear their name and receive a photo from Elitefeats, who also helped organize this sanctioned race.
“We walk and run in memory of our Sweet Nicholas and all children who lost their smiles during their fight, in honor of those who have survived and in support of those who are still fighting hard and smiling big,” Josephine said.
Trophies were awarded to the top overall male and female and top overall wheelchair male. Quality medals were also awarded to the top 3 M/F age groups.
One of the special parts of the day was the children’s fun run, more than 40 children participated and received a medal for finishing which was enjoyed the proud parents who support the Nicholas Pedone Foundation. The participants paid a $10 fee for their children to run one lap around the Glen Cove High School track.
“Each year we honor someone with our Continuing Andrews Positivity (C.A.P.) award in honor of Andrew Fierstine of Glen Head, who fought his cancer from 6 to 20 years of age and left a deep footprint especially through his Relay for Life organization,” Josephine said. “We continue his legacy and this year gave this special award which means so much to me [and] to Jimmy Peck who was so moved to receive this special award.”
The sponsors and countless volunteers are the backbone of the NP 5K. They include Western Beef, The YMCA, American Paving and Masonry, Hometown Foundation, TZELL Travel Group, BESPOKE Motor Group, The B&G Group, Inc., American Community Bank, Friends of Reggie Spinello – Reggie Spinello, Joseph Raso Landscaping, Inc., Platinum Athletics, General Reinsurance Co., Santoli Electric, Big Valley Nursery and Power Equipment, RK Roofing, Inc., Papiro Landscaping, Inc., Fleming Wealth Management, Roni Forster Chastain and Lisa Anselmo Photography.
Today only about four percent of cancer research goes to children’s cancers. To donate to the Nicholas Pedone Foundation, visit www.fighthardsmilebig.org.
Nicholas taught us a lot during his seven years, and especially to never give up and always “Fight Hard and Smile Big.” He touched so many, and will never be forgotten, Sept. 2 is Nicholas Pedone Day in the City of Glen Cove.
Mitch Schlimer is a serial entrepreneur, journalist, photographer and founder of the Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame.