Infinite Love for Kids Fighting Cancer

Manan Manchanda ‘19
EE Co-Editor-in-Chief

Michael Cerulli ‘19
EE Contributor

First Selectman Vicki Tesoro personally commends each of the students involved in the Mane event.

$32,014.

That is the total amount of money raised by a determined group of 38 Trumbull High students and six faculty members, who were supported by the Infinite Love charity organization and the entire community of Trumbull.

Infinite Love for Kids Fighting Cancer, a volunteer-based charitable organization, seeks to fund research on various forms of childhood cancer. Every year, Infinite Love chooses to focus its efforts on a different form of childhood cancer. In past years, funds raised by this organization have gone to research on Rhabdomyosarcoma, Acute Myeloid Leukemia, and Wilms’ Tumor, just to name a few. This year, proceeds will be allocated towards funding Neuroblastoma research, a cancer with survival rates just below 40% when discovered in developed stages.

Infinite Love’s executive director, Trumbull High english teacher Jim McCaffrey, noted in his remarks that fewer than 4% of national level cancer research funding focuses specifically on pediatric care. “Our mission is to bridge the gap in childhood cancer research efforts,” McCaffrey said.

For McCaffrey, the fight to end childhood cancer is a personal battle. McCaffrey lost his daughter Mia to a rare form of cancer when she was 6. Since the tragic loss of his daughter, McCaffrey, who coaches track and cross-country, has joined forces with students and teachers at Trumbull High to raise money in order to fund research grants in intervals of $50,000.

Regardless of the type of cancer, many patients opt for chemotherapy as the principal form of cancer treatment, which turns out to be the most economically viable and practical option in most cases. Other forms of treatment, such as Immunotherapy and T-Cell therapy, are relatively new, and have not been as comprehensively tested as traditional chemotherapy. More advanced treatments, such as stem cell transplants, are relatively expensive and may not always be a feasible option. Although a long and arduous process, chemotherapy has proven to be effective; However, it often comes with a common side effect known as Alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease that causes widespread hair loss, which is an added distress to most patients.

The idea for this year’s “Mane Event” fundraising efforts came as a result of two of McCaffrey’s students. Regina Misercola (‘19) and Maggie LoSchiavo (‘19) approached him with the plan to enlist local salons and willing participants in the multi-week effort. “It started out as a simple idea and quickly blossomed out into something so much more,” said Misercola.

Essentially, the Infinite Love “mane” Event is centered around the the ideas of inclusiveness and solidarity among cancer patients and their loved ones. Over the course of several weeks, 38 students and 6 faculty members took to local salons to chop off large portions of their hair. During the process, the students ended up having to triple their original fundraising goal of $10,000 to accomodate for their staggering fundraising efforts. Over 1,000 inches of hair was donated, and with the support of 15 hair salons, an assortment of community projects, and various individualized fundraising efforts by the students, more than half of the cost of a full research grant was covered.

“I couldn’t be prouder of being the principal of Trumbull High School, to know that we have a student body and a teaching staff that supports all that is good about our community,” remarked Principal Guarino.

Congratulations to Mr. McCaffrey and all of the students and faculty involved in this remarkable effort.

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