By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 10/8/13
When Damian Romanelli heard he had Stage 3-B lymphoma as a junior lacrosse player at Lindenhurst High (N.Y.) three years ago, he braced for a life challenge
Now a sophomore at Farmingdale State, Romanelli is thrilled to say he has been cancer-free for over 2 years. On Sunday he competed with his team at the 7th Annual Nicholas Colleluori Classic at Ridley High where Nick was remembered for his fight against the same Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Romanelli said he was diagnosed after first seeing a lump on his side.
“I felt a little pain in my left hip and when I would lay down I could see the lump on my left hip higher than the right,” he said. “I figured, ‘OK, this isn’t normal.’”
Romanelli had an advanced stage of Lymphoma that already had spread through his chest and other parts of his body. But he took to the treatments as well as anyone could expect.
“I had to go through two cycles of chemotherapy,” he said. “l had a rapid response (to the treatments). The cancer was all over my chest and under arm pits and spreading everywhere.
“I had to go through 14 days straight of radiation. I never felt sick a day in my life. I always felt like myself; I never let it get the best of me. It all took a total of five months.”
Romanelli admits he is lucky. He also appreciates what cancer victims endure.
“Other people don’t get a chance; God gave me another chance,” he said. “It’s a great thing. I am so happy to be here.”
Romanelli was cited Sunday by HEADstrong President Cheryl Colleluori (Nick’s mother) as his team’s Nick Colleluori honoree.
“I heard in August we were coming here to compete; I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to get here,” he said. “I sold all my t-shirts and I have my family here.”
Romanelli said the example set by Nick Colleluori – who cared more about others instead of feeling sorry for himself – continues to inspire him.
“He inspired me; he gives me that extra edge,” he said. “He helps me a lot. I am so happy that I am here; words can’t even describe it anymore.
“I could be in another place and God didn’t want me to go to that place.”