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Good to be Cancer Free

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins – The Boston Bruins Foundation Pan-Mass bike team departed from the TD Garden Friday on what will be a grueling 192-mile ride across the state of Massachusetts. But before they were sent off, 11-year-old Nick Napolitano provided some inspiration and reminded the riders the purpose behind the event.

Napolitano began experiencing severe back pain about one year ago, and last September blood tests, and MRI, and a PET scan revealed that he had Hodgkins Lymphoma.

Nick received treatment at the Jimmy Fund for four months of chemotherapy, followed by almost three weeks of radiation. Fortunately, Napolitano responded well to his treatment, and in March of this year, was declared cancer free.

The Metheun sixth grader is the Foundation team’s ‘pedal partner for the Pan-Mass Challenge, and was present outside the home of the B’s to send the riders off.

One of the riders, Shawn Mullen, met Napolitano when he played baseball with his own son.

“I had him at my spin-a-thon this year and his dad spoke and the Bruins invited him down today to see us off,” Mullen said of Napolitano. “He’s one of the people we’re riding for and so he’s gonna hopefully…give us some good words of inspiration as we take off.”

Other team riders like Brian Hussey, who himself battled cancer for six years, seemed eager to embark on cross-state journey.

“We’re ready to rock and roll,” Hussey said.

Despite not going on the bike ride with the Bruins Foundation team, Napolitano shared in Hussey’s sentiments.

When asked how it felt to be cancer free, the 11-year-old simply replied, “It feels good.”

---Travis Basciotta

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