Health Check: Team Henry Memorial Fund
Henry Alexander Andrade was 14 years old when he was first diagnosed with cancer.
"He was charming, happy all the time and full of energy," said Carolina Dalomba, Henry's mother. "He played soccer all the time so he came home one day and said, 'Mom, my knee was locking up on me and when I sit in class and get up, it's locking and it's a little sore.' And when I checked, the first thing I noticed it was really hot and was a little more swollen than the other knee."
Henry was diagnosed with osteosarcoma otherwise known as bone cancer. He underwent chemotherapy then surgery.
"And when the doctor says I have to remove your femur and I have to put metal there and I don't know if you can play sports, he said, 'Mom, that's just not fair,'" Dalomba said. (single quote)
But in true Henry fashion, he turned that negative into a positive and joined the swim team. He helped his high school, North Providence, win the state championship his junior year.
Then three days later, another tumor. This time it was in his lung. He underwent more treatment.
"He never stopped school. He never stopped playing with his friends," Dalomba said.
Doctors would tackle one tumor, then another would show up somewhere else. Though it all, The Tomorrow Fund was there.
"When the child gets cancer it's not just the child we're concerned about. It's the entire family," said Barbara Ducharme of The Tomorrow Fund.
The nonprofit organization helps children with cancer and their families, like Henry's, both emotionally and financially.
"That's what I feel gave me the strength to go through and what I feel gave Henry his strength to go through," Dalomba said.
And Henry rallied the troops.
"It was the community that Henry built," Dalomba said.
Team Henry for Kids with Cancer is something he founded. He wanted to give back to The Tomorrow Fund.
Henry died in January, but his family and his community continue his efforts. Money is still trickling in from the $18,000 raised by Team Henry last month for The Tomorrow Fund.
"We always say once a Tomorrow Fund kid, you're always a Tomorrow Fund kid. Once you're a Tomorrow Fund family, you're always a Tomorrow Fund family," Ducharme said
The Team Henry Memorial Fund, as it's now called, is raising money for The Tomorrow Fund, a local food pantry and an athletic scholarship in Henry's name.
A soccer match between the Rhode Island Reds and New York Red Bulls will take place Sunday to raise money for the scholarship.