Pickleball’s rise in popularity across the nation is generally attributed to its straightforwardness, inclusiveness, social appeal, and health advantages.
This is never truer than on Staten Island, where the sport has united players within a pickleball club and the cause of a young Islander battling cancer.
A Challenging Journey
On November 11, over 50 enthusiasts from the Staten Island Pickleball Players Club gathered at Fairview Park in Charleston for a charity tournament. Their aim was to aid Charlotte White, a 6-year-old from West Brighton who had been diagnosed with Wilms tumor, a form of childhood kidney cancer.
Charlotte, daughter of Nicole and Matt White, attends Our Lady of Good Counsel School in Tompkinsville and is Thomas’s younger sister.
Despite facing the challenging journey of battling cancer and enduring intense chemotherapy, Charlotte demonstrates remarkable courage and a constant smile in the face of adversity, especially the draining chemotherapy sessions.
“Courage And Grace”
Nicole White, her mother and a nurse practitioner, told Dr. Gracelyn Santos, writing for SI Live, “Charlotte has faced numerous challenges, yet she approaches them with a courage and grace that surpass her young age.
“She maintains a positive outlook at all times, wearing a constant smile on her face, regardless of the obstacles she encounters.”
Nearly $3,500 Raised
The fundraising tournament, organized by long-time family friends Janine Mule of Annadale and Gary White of Eltingville, collected close to $3,500. This generous sum was directed to the White family to help with their medical expenses.
Janine explained, “The pickleball community on Staten Island is a very close-knit and charitable one. I knew everyone would come out to support Charlotte.
“And they did. Matt and Nicole even brought Charlotte to the tournament for a while, and the players got to meet her.
“It was so inspirational to meet the family you’re helping, and made the day incredible. It was truly an amazing day. Charlotte is always upbeat and never complains. She is a true warrior.”
About Wilms Tumor
Wilms tumor, the form of cancer Charlotte is fighting, predominantly affects children’s kidneys. Doctors associate most cases with genetic mutations that prompt kidney cells to form tumors. The cause of these genetic changes remains unknown, typically occurring in otherwise healthy children.
The treatment of Wilms tumor involves collaboration between pediatric oncologists and surgeons, often necessitating kidney surgery (partial or complete nephrectomy) and chemotherapy. In certain cases, radiation therapy is also employed to combat the disease.
Their daughter’s cancer diagnosis has turned the lives of Nicole (a nurse practitioner) and Matt White upside down, as Charlotte’s treatment and surgery will last for months.
The money raised from family, friends, and supporters will help the White family focus solely on Charlotte’s recovery.
To make a donation, please visit Charlottle’s GoFundMe page.
Tournament Roll Of Honor
Gold: Nora Cusimano
Silver: tied Alyssa Krenek and Tara Lombardo
Gold: Ruben Gonzalez and Lenny Krenek
Silver: Steve Santiago and Rob Pandolfi
Bronze: Gary White and Keith Thompson
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