Steadfast, Relentless, and HEADstrong

head plaqueI am still struggling over finding just the right words to appropriately describe how moved I was at the 2nd Annual HEADStrong Lime Light Gala, held on March 23rd at the Hyatt at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia or how extremely honored I am to be the recipient of the Nicholas E. Colleluori Award for my contributions in the field of blood cancer.

This was simply an amazing night put on by an amazing family in honor and in memory of their son Nick, and the heroic crusade that he started through his vision of the HEADstrong Foundation.

HEADstrong is the real deal. The Colleluori family is the real deal. Every single person that I met Friday night was driven, committed, and loyal to HEADstrong and to the Colleluoris. You cannot spend 30 seconds with this family without feeling the love and dedication they feel for Nick and for Nick’s dream.

I thought I had orchestrated my thoughts and had a pretty good idea of the things I wanted to include in my brief acceptance talk. But the truth is I was thrown a little emotionally off guard as my bio was being read and my name called by Master of Ceremony Pete McCarthy. As Pete talked about my background, the entire Colleluori family gathered to the front of the room and stood in line, with Cheryl Colleluori holding a crystal plaque commemorating the award. Nick’s family stood tall and stood proud and walking up to that was quite a moving sight. And while it was almost a little intimidating at first, by the time I reached the family I was reminded of the solidarity that the warriors in this fight all share. I felt that strength. And I felt that our movement and march was even more powerful.

head coll reception lineOf course what made this night even more special for me was the fact that I was able to share it with my family. Nothing I do …. no award that I receive, no finish line that I cross, counts without them. They are the reason and the motivation behind everything that I have been blessed and fortunate enough to be able to do.

head brown famThe mission of the HEADstrong Foundation is to carry on the legacy and vision of HEADstrong founder Nicholas Colleluori through advocating, fundraising and supporting those affected by blood cancer and those working towards eliminating it. In just a few short years of existence, they have evolved into an organization with the strength and visibility of one ten times its size. The reason for their success in my opinion is that every person involved with this mission is personally committed and connected to who Nicholas Colleluori was and what he stood for; and continues to stand for.

head coll famBut they cannot do it alone. And I was so impressed by everything that I saw on Friday night that I vowed to remain on board and to do whatever I can going forward to continue to drive Nick’s vision and eradicate blood cancers. Please learn more at www.headstrongfoundation.org

In the words of Nick Colleluori:

“Make use of the time you have and don’t stress the little things. Have a smile and enjoy what you can get out of life”.

Click HERE to listen to the acceptance of the award.

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