2017-02-08 / Front Page

A young man and his battle with cancer

Communities come together during local hardship

Alex Naccarato cheering on the team at a recent Springfield High School basketball game.
— PHOTO BY ERICKA SCHOFFAlex Naccarato cheering on the team at a recent Springfield High School basketball game. — PHOTO BY ERICKA SCHOFFSPRINGFIELD — Throughout life, everyone faces adversity. Often times, high school is referred to as a teenager’s “glory years.” However, Springfield High School (SHS) senior Alex Naccarato had his life challenged and changed forever when he was diagnosed during holiday break with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Naccarato grew up with a very normal life. He has spent his whole high school career playing basketball for SHS and is an active member of the National Honor Society, Student Governance Board, and is the treasurer of his class. 

While Naccarato is described by his peers and teachers as outgoing, intelligent and the life of the classroom, midway through his senior year, his light was beginning to fade. He began feeling tired, weak and unlike himself. Naccarato knew something was wrong. 

“It was overwhelming to find out I had cancer. I never would have imagined that I would get it,” he said. “I always considered myself a healthy guy and never thought that my diagnosis would've been cancer.” 

With this new diagnosis, Naccarato knew his life was about to change forever. He began thinking about how he was going to be able to maintain the most normal, enjoyable senior year possible, while undergoing chemotherapy every two weeks.

“On chemotherapy days, I usually get up around five or six in the morning to head up to Dartmouth for the day. I generally have a couple of appointments before my chemotherapy starts,” explained Naccarato. “Nights of chemotherapy are generally laid back. I get tired and some of the side effects of the ABVD (a chemotherapy used for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma) treatment start to kick in. Once those few days are over, I generally feel pretty good until the next treatment.”

As if the battle of cancer as a teenager isn’t unimaginable enough, Naccarato has attended school almost every day since his treatments have begun and still travels with his basketball team to give them support. His strength through adversity is mind boggling and greatly admired. Throughout this transitioning period in his life, Naccarato and his teammates have created an even stronger bond.

“Lately, I've been feeling well enough to go to practices and even shoot the ball on the sideline. My team and other teams have been really supportive so far,” he said. “The Fall Mountain basketball team gave me a gift that will come in handy during treatments, and signed a card sending their thoughts and wishes. The basketball community around me is really coming together and supporting me a ton.”

In addition to the support Naccarato is receiving from the local basketball communities, he is also having a benefit game. On Friday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m. at Riverside Middle School, the Springfield Booster Club will donate all proceeds of the night to help pay for medical and travel expenses during Naccarato’s treatment. T-shirts are also currently being sold by the Booster Club. 

Naccarato and his family are thankful for all of the support they are receiving and are so amazed with how the community has come together to help a local senior. 

“To all who support me, I thank you very much. No matter what form it comes in, I appreciate it all,” concluded Naccarato. “It has overwhelmed me for sure, but definitely in a good way. I'm very thankful for all of my family, friends, teachers, and community members for supporting me.”

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