Childhood Cancer

2022 Ambassador: Meet Rocco – A 5-Year-Old Full of Love, Kindness, and Faith

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
February 7, 2022

His parents told him his blood was sick when he was diagnosed with cancer. Rocco said he was sad, but he wanted to get better so he could donate his blood to help other people. This unselfish kindness and compassion are rare qualities in a five-year-old. But this is Rocco.

Rocco in hospital bed.

Diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in June 2021, Rocco is in treatment at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Florida where he is about to start the last dose of his current chemotherapy protocol. His mom, Ida has noticed late effects from treatment including weakness, weight loss and vomiting. She shared, “If we have learned anything throughout this journey it is that Rocco has his own timeline and nothing we do is going to change that.” However, Rocco says he is strong and assures his family he is going to be fine.

Rocco with his mom.

After all, Rocco’s heroes are Optimus Prime, the brave leader of the Transformers and his dad. Looking up to them gives this little boy the strength to be fearless.

But Rocco is still very much a typical kindergartener. He loves dinosaurs and wants to be a paleontologist when he grows up. Some of his favorites are playing soccer, Beyblades spinning top toys, pasta with meatballs and Starbucks runs with mom and dad. Rocco’s best friends are his siblings, Chloe and RayRay. They always try to keep his spirits up. The family loves going to water parks and theme parks together and spending time at home watching movies or playing games.

Rocco with his mom, dad, sister, and brother

In Rocco’s cancer journey ahead, Ida believes he will persevere because his outstanding qualities, even at such a young age are “his kindness, love for those around him, and his faith.” And while his story has just begun, Rocco has already been an inspiration of hope with his big smile and his relentless optimism that he is going to be just fine.

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