Henry spent his first year of life in and out of the hospital. Days blurred into nights. Chemotherapy, blood transfusions, infections, leg and hip braces, and a near deadly reaction to a medication. It was so scary that we felt more at home at Dana Farber and Children’s than in our own house. We’d always imagined we’d have a big family but the fear of having another child with cancer, no matter how improbable it was, terrified us.
But we also knew that Henry would be stronger with a sibling. Someone to push him along, to challenge him, to pick him up when life got tough (it turns out a sister helps too!). And when Henry was just learning to walk with a medical walker, we welcomed Leo into the world! With big mitts for hands, a square jaw, and a dimple to melt your socks off, he was Henry’s partner in crime. His confidant. He still is.
And this year, Leo is joining his big brother and dad for the Pan Mass Challenge! Yes, 2023 is the year of 3 Fenollosas on bikes, riding 200 miles over 2 days, raising money for cancer research and treatment!
But first, another milestone - Henry turned 18!
It’s been a year of adventure, starting with a trip to England and Ireland to meet relatives and see the house where his grandmother grew up. Henry vowed to eat fish and chips every day and he stood by his word, stomach aches and all. Soon after he settled into 11th grade, he needed another surgery on his left leg which sidelined him for a few months. But being Henry, he was eager to make up for lost time. The same day his orthopaedist cleared him to “slowly return to activity,” Henry went snowboarding.
In the spring, Henry decided to try for the high school lacrosse team - a sport that requires an insane amount of running and taxed his legs and ankles, leaving him to ice them after each practice. But what’s a little pain when you’re having fun?
And in May, Henry saw the culmination of three years of work. The bike park in Arlington that he had proposed during the onset of Covid was finally approved after endless public meetings. Henry addressed all 252 Town Meeting Members, winning overwhelming approval. All the while, he kept up with school, doctor’s appointments and scans. Yes, there are days of frustration, wishing cancer had never changed his life, but he always pushes forward. This PMC will be no different!
We started our team 14 years ago. Since then, we’ve lost Henry’s Uncle Nat, Grandfather Bill, and so many family and friends. And while we feel so lucky to have caught Henry’s cancer early, there is still so much work to do. Every day brings a new diagnosis and a new family feeling hopeless. This is why on August 5th and 6th, Henry, Leo and Josh will join our Equipe Henry team and thousands of other riders to raise money for cancer research and treatment.
Please consider joining us on our PMC ride by making a tax deductible donation by clicking on their links below or writing a check to the PMC and sending it to:
Henry, Leo and Josh Fenollosa
12 Benjamin Road
Arlington, MA 02476
(100% of every dollar donated goes to Dana Farber and the 3 Fenny’s will be sharing fundraising.)
We know many of you have been touched by cancer or watched a loved one struggle with the disease. Please know we’re riding for all of us. With love and appreciation for being on this journey with us,
Cath, Josh, Henry, Leo and Ruby Fenollosa