The Homecoming football game this Saturday between Centreville High and Robinson Secondary football teams will focus on more than just a fight for touchdowns. The game will be dedicated to the fight that Centreville High student Nicholas "Nick" Franca is undergoing with neuroblastoma, a form of cancer in the sympathetic nervous system.
DISCOVERED LAST June while undergoing surgery after an appendicitis attack, the family was shocked when the surgeon noticed a cyst on the back of Franca’s pelvis — there were no symptoms to suggest a problem. After a series of tests, he was formally diagnosed with neuroblastoma in August.
Currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment at the Memorial Sloan-Ketting Cancer Center in New York, the community is behind him in his fight for recovery.
“We’re very anxious for his recovery to be successful,” said Peter Noonan, principal of Centreville High School. “We can’t wait to have him back at school, representing Centreville on the golf team.”
Franca, who is an avid golfer, moved to Centreville his freshman year in high school, living in Clifton prior to that — an area from which Robinson draws students. This was the motivation for dedicating the game, bringing together students in both school districts who have known Franca.
Fifty percent of the concession stand proceeds from the football match this Saturday, Oct. 15 at 5 p.m. against Robinson will be donated to the Francas to help with medical expenses. There is also a possibility that a football will be signed by players from both teams that know Franca.
The dedication was originally organized by Sharon Flutsch, who is a mother of Steven Flutsch, a friend of Franca and member of the Robinson junior varsity football team.
“Nick knows about the dedication,” said Jim Franca, Nicholas’ father, “but we are not sure with the treatments, if we will be here or in New York City.”
A chemotherapy treatment was scheduled for this past Tuesday, Oct. 11, however Franca’s platelet count was too low. The family will not know until Thursday whether they will be able to attend the game.