By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 10/11/21
Lucca DiBartolomeo has personal experience in learning how much the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society can positively impact a youngster with blood cancer.
That’s why he is pleased to be running a Light the Night fundraiser this week.
“I think it’s great helping younger kids,” said DiBartolomeo, a sophomore lacrosse player at Malvern Prep. “I was in this situation 2 years ago and to give back to something that helped save my life is great.”
DiBartolomeo was diagnosed with Burkitt’s (a form of non-Hodgkins) lymphoma in October of 2019. After four months of intensive treatment and care from the doctors at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), he went into remission in January of 2020. Light the Night is a series of fundraising campaigns benefiting The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s funding of research to find blood cancer cures.
Last year, DiBartolomeo served as the Honored Hero for Light the Night, Chester County. This year DiBartolomeo decided to run his own LLS fundraiser as part of the overall LLS drive. His fundraiser goal is $10,000; already over $7,260 has been raised.
The fundraising page is here – https://pages.lls.org/ltn/epa/chester21/luccastrong. The LLS celebratory fundraising event, Light the Night, is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 14, beginning at 7 p.m.
DiBartolomeo – who plays for Brotherly Love and formerly for Mesa and in youth lacrosse for Ashbee – is 2 years removed from treatments. He still receives a scan every 6 months to make sure the cancer has not returned, but he only ahead, not behind.
“I just want to move forward,” he said. “I think from all this I have learned the toughness and grit I need to strive to get through anything. Nothing is easy and nothing is given to you; you have to take it.
“I strive to move forward and keep looking to the future and the bright side of things.”
Fighting cancer forced DiBartolomeo to lose a year of high school. He reclassified and last year as a freshman on the field served as the primary backup at LSM to All-American Pup Buono on the Inter-Ac League champion Friars.
DiBartolomeo got a bonus by repeating the year. His twin brothers Peri and Roman are also 2024s, so now he gets to play three more seasons with his brothers.
“I like playing with my brothers,” Lucca said. “We all have the same mentality and we lift each other up. We have high standards.”
DiBartolomeo’s fight against cancer has led to some special times. In January of 2020, with the help of the LLS, the hometown Philadelphia Wings recognized his resilience by signing him to a 1-day contract, while sending players to Malvern Prep. They also invited him to a game where he got his own locker, plenty of gear and the chance to spend time with Wings standouts such as Matt Rambo and Kevin Crowley – two Philly legends – and Trevor Baptiste.
“I just remember walking into the Wells Fargo Center locker room and seeing the coaches and Matt Rambo and Baptists and Crowley,” he said. “It was a great day, I got to see the players behind the scenes. I got some cool gear; it was a great experience.”