CLAYTON — Like many nine-year-old boys, Ryan Carasiti enjoyed playing baseball, football, and basketball. He’s a natural athlete.
“He was a normal nine year old boy doing everything he wanted to do until he relapsed,” said his father, Peter Carasiti.
Carasiti has already battled cancer once. When he was two and a half years old, he was diagnosed with leukemia. He went through almost three years of treatments and the cancer stayed away for almost five years. Last year, Carasiti was diagnosed with a different type of cancer, lymphoma.
According to the National Cancer Institute, cancer is the leading cause of death by disease among children ages 1 to 14.
Carasiti’s father said he and his wife got a little concerned when the same familiar bump appear on his son’s neck that had showed up the first time. It was a lymphnode that was poking its way to the surface.
The family, who has three other children, has spent the past year in and out of UNC Children’s Hospital, with one visit lasting 30 days. Daily there is a concern of keeping Ryan’s temperature stable and monitored because if he gets a fever, he could get a serious infection.
“Everything has basically stopped because most of the time he’s too sick to go anywhere, to go to restaurants, to go on vacations,” said Carasiti. He said the family really hasn’t been able to leave their home.
This reality is the kind of battle that the annual fundraiser St. Baldrick’s aims to prevent. Each year, locals shave their heads in solidarity with people like Ryan, who are warriors up against a disease.
Rob Baker is organizing Clayton’s St. Baldrick’s fundraiser, which will take place April 20 at the Flipside at noon.
Baker said there have been 4 or 5 local children who’ve been through cancer treatments. The child who the event honored last year has since died from the disease.
“We’re doing this event so other families in the future don’t have to go through what they’re going through,” said Baker. “It’s a nightmare.”
St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a national charity with head-shaving events in every state. Last year, the event in Clayton raised $82,000.
Funds raised through the event go to support grants that fund cancer research in the aim of prevent childhood cancer.