Alongside the Battle of Cancer

Alongside the Battle of Cancer

By Shane Lavezzo

It was late in the day and junior David Fineman was with his friends when one of them told the group that his mom had bought them all movie tickets. Fineman broke down in tears.

Four years ago, Fineman, in eighth grade at the time, had returned home from a baseball game and was told to sit down; his parents had something important to tell him. He was excited, expecting an announcement like a vacation, but what he heard made his heart drop. During a doctor’s appointment earlier that day his mother, Lori, found out that she had breast cancer. In the moments following, Fineman remembers feeling a combination of shock and sadness.

“My mind just kind of went blank and I didn’t know what was real and what wasn’t,” he said. “I just remember how my sister immediately went into tears, but my brother and I were just kind of shocked at what was happening.”

Fineman remembers the next year as being tough on his whole family. His mom was going through different surgeries and stages of chemotherapy and his dad was working two jobs while trying to care for Fineman and his two older siblings.

For Fineman, surgeries always seemed to come with perspective-altering news. Sometimes it was good, but sometimes it was bad. Fineman can still remember the moments during a doctor’s appointment after a potentially beneficial surgery.

“We got news that the cancer in fact was not gone. It had spread. And so that just started a point where there was some doubt, like is it really going to get better? Is what we’re doing not enough?” Fineman said. “And I just remember that being really hard because in that moment I thought, what if she dies, what if she can’t get better? How will I be able to handle it? How will I be able to live?”

After the surgeries Fineman would often be at his mom’s hospital bedside and wait for her to wake up.  He recalled one of the moments after a big surgery. “She immediately turned to me and said, ‘David, I love you and thank you.’ I just started crying uncontrollably because it was probably one of the happiest moments of my life, knowing that my mom was not going to give up no matter what happened. She was always going to love me,” he said.

From that moment on, Fineman began to live life in the way he believes everyone should. “You should experience life in a way where you only live once and you have to embrace these moments, embrace the good times in your life because they could go quickly,” he said. He thinks that you can’t let obstacles get in your way or else you will never move forward, only backwards.

During one of the few nights in between surgery with his mom at home, Fineman was watching an animal cruelty prevention commercial in his mom’s arms, when he began to cry.  He didn’t want to be a bystander and watch the woman he loves suffer. Fineman wanted to make a change in the breast cancer community.

Based around his love for sports, Fineman created an organization called Boyz Against Breast Cancer where he used sports fundraisers to raise money for breast cancer awareness. He wanted to be a person that makes a difference.

“That’s when I started doing these fundraisers or these activities for breast cancer or for other things like soup kitchens to help the community and that just brightened me up, that made me happier to be a change and to help other people,” he said.

BoyzABC, has raised over $50,000 in the past three years. Fineman wants to use this success to make others realize that if you put your mind to it, you can make a difference too. “Things are moving along a lot faster compared to if no one did anything,” he said.

Lori is now cancer-free but Fineman continues to run fundraisers. He has been able to recruit many of his friends and has combined with other small organizations to make a difference.

“If you have the passion and you have the will to do something, you can do it and you can make a change,” he said.