SHARED COURAGE: After three years and four months of treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, 13-year-old Stephen Broderick of Sherborn is slated to have his last chemotherapy treatment on July 26.
The occasion will be a time of celebration for his family, with perhaps the loudest cheers from 11-year-old Alexis, who has taken her big brother’s illness especially hard.
In recognition of their joint courage, the siblings were recently honored by Julie McLucas, coordinator of the Westborough-based chapter of Medals4Mettle, a nonprofit organization that presents medals donated by marathon, half-marathon, and triathlon competitors worldwide to children and adults facing challenges from debilitating illnesses.
Stephen, a seventh-grader at Woodside Montessori Academy in Millis, was given a gold medal from the Walt Disney World Marathon in 2009. Alexis, a fifth-grader at Woodside, received hers from the 2008 Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge, in which runners complete 39.3 miles over two days.
“It’s very nice of them,” said Stephen, who plans to prominently display his medal, engraved with Mickey Mouse, in his bedroom. “They earned it by running a lot and doing stuff that I most certainly couldn’t do. For them to give away their award for that to somebody else is pretty neat and cool.”
“They’re very cute,” agreed Alexis, whose medal is engraved with a picture of Goofy. “It makes me feel happy.”
Stephen’s health has improved since the young Beatles fan put aside his desire to meet Paul McCartney in order for his family to enjoy a Disney cruise through the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Massachusetts and Rhode Island in 2012.
However, last year he was diagnosed with osteoporosis from his steroid treatments, and has struggled with recurring pneumonia since October.
He admits it has “kind of been harder than we expected, with how often I’ve gotten sick,” and insists his sister is every bit as deserving of recognition. “She didn’t get chemo, but she went through all the emotional stuff, so it was just as hard on her, if not harder.”
And the medals, he said, “are a reminder that we’ve both been through a three-year marathon.”
WILLING PUPIL: As a sophomore at Framingham High School last year, Wendy Monte was excited when she was accepted into the John Andrew Mazie Memorial Foundation’s Mazie Mentoring Program, which would assist her with the college application process over the course of five semesters.
The 17-year-old didn’t expect that she’d make a best friend along the way.
Monte felt an instant connection with 25-year-old Jackie Fox, also of Framingham. After initially bonding over their shared love of music, they have gone to movies, canoeing, hiking, and yoga classes together.
In addition, Monte credits Fox with helping her achieve all three of her program goals to date: participating in two community service projects within the first three months; bringing up her history grade by the six-month mark; and applying for summer internships while researching colleges by her one-year anniversary.
Monte is one of 31 Framingham High students who were recognized recently for their goal-setting success. Each year, the mentoring program accepts 60 Framingham and Waltham high school students.
At the achievement award night, Monte read her first college application essay, in which the native of El Salvador describes her appreciation for her parents’ sacrifices and the lessons she has learned. For her senior project, she will work with Fox to hone the qualities and habits required to achieve her five-year life plan.
By then, Monte hopes to be well on her way to med school.
“I wasn’t convinced about the program in the beginning, but as time went by, I realized I needed it,” she said, noting Fox has become one of her closest confidantes.
“Jackie taught me how to be open to meeting new people and learning new things, and to seeing all of the opportunities in life,” Monte added. “We’ll always be friends.”
MUSICAL JOURNEY: With the help of a fund-raising concert headlined by singer-songwriter Livingston Taylor on Feb. 1, the Groton-Dunstable Regional High School’s 31-member chamber choir is on its way to a concert tour of Europe that starts Wednesday.
According to the high school’s music director, Timothy Savoy, the 10-day trip will feature five performances at festivals and historic cathedrals in Venice, Prague, and Salzburg, Austria. In addition, Savoy recently learned that the ensemble beat out hundreds of other student and adult choirs for a part in Sunday’s Easter Mass at the Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua, a pilgrimage site in northern Italy.
The chamber choir will perform Mozart’s “Ave Verum Corpus,” Tomas Luis de Victoria’s “O Magnum Mysterium,” Moses Hogan’s “Ezekiel Saw de Wheel,” and Hans Leo Hassler’s “Cantate Domino” during the service at the basilica.
“The kids are psyched, but they won’t even feel the full effect until they’re there,” he said.
NOW STARRING: Newton 15-year-old Ethan Koss-Smith will play the role of the jock Snik in the Boston Children’s Theatre world premiere of “The Homework Machine,” based on the best-selling book by Dan Gutman, which opens Saturday and runs through April 27.
The musical is running in rotation with “Of Mice and Men,” to be performed April 25 and 26 and May 3 and 4 with Weston 18-year-old Larson Miller starring as Lennie.
All of the performances will take place at 2 p.m. at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont St. Tickets cost $25. For more information, call 617-933-8600 or visit www.bostonchildrenstheatre.org.
HANDS-ON HELP: Starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday, the Rotary Club of Wellesley will host a meal-packaging project dubbed “Stop Hunger Now’’ at the Wellesley Community Center, 219 Washington St.
Event chairman Hank Petrilli says more than 100 volunteers are needed to meet the goal of packing 20,000 meals within three hours.
The meal packets, with a shelf life exceeding two years, will be distributed worldwide.
For more information, call Petrilli at 781-237-3888 or Rotary Club president Tom DeRiemer at 781-235-9335, or visit www.wellesleyrotary.org.
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