To honor Nicholas Mincarelli’s life, NixCancer Foundation was established to assist families fighting cancer & funding research for Rhabdomyosarcoma.
In September 2008 Nick Mincarelli was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) of the left infratemporal fossa. He was just 5 years old.
After his diagnosis, Nick underwent 43 weeks of chemotherapy at the Children’s hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and proton radiation therapy in Boston. By June 2009 he received his last round of chemo and was seemingly cancer free.
During a routine scan in April 2010 his doctors discovered a mass in Nick’s left lung. A biopsy confirmed that his RMS had returned and another tumor was discovered in the muscles of his left thigh. Once again Nick was treated with chemotherapy for 40+ weeks, surgery and radiation, finishing in May 2011 in time to enjoy a fun summer with friends and family.
Late in September the same year Nick began to have intense stomach pain and additional tests showed that the cancer had returned again. This time he had several tumors in his pancreas, liver and lungs. Traditional cancer treatments were not an option and so he began some trial medications in an effort to stop or slow the growth of the tumors. Unfortunately the trial medications were either ineffective or damaging in other ways and he had to stop taking them. The doctors at CHOP continued with more chemo and Nick’s pain subsided but unfortunately this was only because he was accumulating fluid in his abdomen that cushioned the tumors. At this point, medicine had no solutions.
Nick next started palliative chemotherapy that provided him with comfort and no pain. His family worked with specialists at CHOP to maintain his quality of life and worked with hospice so that they could care for Nick at home, surrounded with extended family and friends.
Nicholas Anthony Mincarelli passed away on March 12, 2012 at age 8. While his life was cut short he also touched many people. His gentle smile could melt the hearts of those around him and his laughter was infectious. Although Nick’s illness made him appear frail at times, he possessed strength, perseverance and the ability to overcome incredible odds and physical challenges. With his courage, he led people to believe that each day is a blessing and an opportunity to create lasting memories.
Nick attended Plymouth Elementary School and was a Bear Cub in Pack 216. He could spend hours putting together his LEGO sets or playing Ben10 or Star Wars Wii games. He loved Halloween, playing tricks, and telling jokes. He always wore Spiderman socks except when swimming and digging massive craters at the beach. Nick loved baseball and had a special affinity for the Philadelphia Phillies. Nick was a really kind and loving friend and always tried to make people happy. Nick will always be remembered for giving the best hugs ever and for truly being a hero to everyone he met.