The Gerbino family thought they were in the clear.
Father Matt was finishing treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The family thought their troubles were over.
But then came another blow.
This past winter, son Nicholas, 15, a freshman at Liverpool High School, discovered a bulge on his right arm.
"At first we didn't think anything of it," said mom Lisa Gerbino. "We noticed it around Thanksgiving, but we thought it would go away."
When the bump hadn't gone away by Christmas, Lisa booked an appointment with Nicholas' pediatrician. The doctor ordered an immediate MRI, which confirmed his worst fears-and the family's: it was cancer.
Nicholas was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer most often found in children. Ewing's sarcoma can occur in any bone, but is most often found in the extremities and can involve muscle and the soft tissues around the tumor site. Ewing's sarcoma accounts for about 2 to 3 percent of childhood cancers. About 250 children and adolescents are diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma each year in the US. It is the second most common
malignant bone tumor in children and adolescents.
Ewing's sarcoma most often occurs in children between the ages of 10 and 20.
Nicholas began treatment immediately at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, one of the top cancer treatment facilities in the country. It's also where Matt Gerbino received treatment; in fact, Nicholas was referred to the same surgeon who helped his dad, something that reassured his parents.
"He's one of the most well-known surgical experts in the country," Lisa said.
It also reassures Nicholas about his prognosis.
"It helps Nick to see that there's a success story in the family," Lisa said. "That's helped a lot."
While his parents know Nicholas is in good hands, they still lament what he's had to give up. A star athlete, Nicholas has had to stop playing lacrosse, most likely for good, and basketball, at least temporarily.