May 3, 2014
05:34 AMHealth & Wellness
Guilford Fundraiser Honors Cancer Victim, Seeks Aid for Children With Sick Parents
Nathaniel Fenollosa loved the freedom of cycling, and even as his body was locked in a vicious battle with brain cancer, he continued to get on his bicycle, fitting in rides between rounds of chemotherapy.
But when “Nat” succumbed after a nearly three-year-long fight with glioblastoma in February, his wife looked to sustain his legacy through something he had dreamed of organizing: a children’s bike ride for charity.
“I was like, ‘It’s a great idea, but I cannot take that on right now,’” Amy Fenollosa recalls telling her husband when he brought up the idea while he was sick. “So, this has always been in the back of mind.”
And on Sunday, just months after his passing, Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison will play host to a children’s bike ride in his honor.
“Kids Ride for Kids” will be the first fundraising event for the Nathaniel K. Fenollosa Memorial Fund, which was established shortly after his death.
Through fundraising and donations to the fund, Fenollosa said she hopes to collaborate with social service organizations to create programs that help children deal with the emotional impact of having a sick parent.
“It’s so excruciating to have someone go through cancer and, for little kids, there’s no way to normalize the experience,” said Fenollosa, who has two young boys.
Fenollosa, 43, of Guilford, found that resources for children experiencing what her two children were going through were scarce.
“I found that the services were really lacking and it was up to me to create them for my kids, and as a wife who’s helping a spouse cope with cancer, it’s overwhelming,” said Fenollosa. “If there were an opportunity for them to come together with other kids and do something fun and energentic around a really sad situation, it might give them strength, hope and coping skills.”
By September, she expects the memorial fund to support weekly or bimonthly programs, which would bring in social workers and art therapists to work with the children.
Though it will start on a relatively small scale, Fenollosa said she hopes it expands.