Honored Kid

Phillip DeVito

Phillip DeVito Kid Photo


Chardon , OH, US


Germ cell tumor

Date of Diagnosis

January 1988



Treated At

Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital

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My Story

Thank you for supporting me and the more than 300,000 kids worldwide who will be diagnosed with cancer this year. By sharing the gifts of your time, talent and money with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, you're supporting research to give all kids with cancer a better chance for a cure. Phillip Michael DeVito was born April 18th, 1979. From the time he was born everyone knew he was special, especially his dad. In the words of his father, Sam, “I hope every father knows his child is very special.” Growing up, Phillip was the typical kid. He loved to play baseball, football, soccer, CYO basketball, and wrestle with his dad. He followed college and professional sports and was a wiz at sports trivia. He collected baseball cards and baseball caps. He followed Cleveland’s sport teams and the University of Michigan. He always maintained a B+ average in school. What a great kid! In January of 1988, at the age of 8, Phillip DeVito was first diagnosed with brain cancer. Through several operations, radiation and chemotherapy and a year of setbacks Phillip beat the odds and for the next seven years Phillip was able to live a typical and normal life. Enjoying friends and family, Phillip inspired those who he came in contact with to, in his Aunt Mary Ann’s words “to love and give love to others unconditionally” Sadly, the bad news hit once again in 1995. The cancer had returned. Phillip battled through more surgery and treatments for two more years, losing his sight along the way. Phillip lost his battle to cancer on December 21, 1997. His mother Mary also knew how special her son was. As Mary stated, “As time moves into the 21st century, it is difficult to find a young role model. While some look to famous movie stars, I am proud to introduce you to a real life example, my son, Phillip. Phillip had many attributes; his positive attitude, and love of life had an impact on his family, friends, classmates, and church. As friends and family we remember Phil; Grandpa DeVito – “watching Phil grow up was a great learning experience for anyone who thought they had it tough” Grandama DeVito – “ He would love to wrestle. I thought he would get hurt. I would holler at him but he kept right on wrestling. He was a very courageous young man. He never complained about anything.” Cousin Nick Ricchino – The best thing about Phil was his sense of humor. I have so many great memories of Phil, like cruising down the freeway listening to “I like Big Butts”. Phil cared about his family and friends very much, he was not only my cousin but my friend. Cousin Deanna Ricchino – Though Phillip is gone, he will not be forgotten. He was very brave and kept his great sense of humor. Jennifer Dombek – “Phillip shred his strength with everyone he loved, and it is this strength that is with us everyday as he watches over us. Phillip taught me that no matter the hardship, fear, loss, or pain if we have faith and can smile, God would guide us.” Best Friend Phillip Basile – “We did our best to impersonate sumo wrestlers by pulling our underwear up our cracks and walking around. Phillip taught me to live every day to the fullest and not to give up on life” Classmate and friend Brian Suponcic –“He defined what it means to be a man and a friend. He had more courage and heart than I ever thought humanly possible.” Classmate and friend Tony Brunetti – “Although he was battling for his life, he was still living at the same time. He taught me how to have an appreciation for life and the simple things that it brings to you.” To Phillip every day was a great day. Phillip woke every day knowing that he had people in his life that cared deeply for him. Through the most horrible days that he had to endure the pain of surgery, the side effects of chemotherapy, blindness, and an unknown future Phillip maintained that positive outlook and looked forward to the next day. But more than anything, Phillip moved through his life, the good and the bad, with an eagerness and vitality because people loved him so much. In our hearts, we all recall with warmth and affection, Phillip’s sense of humor, his kindness, his open and giving nature. We will always remember him- what he was, what he said, what he accomplished in his time with us. We cannot help but to be continually inspired by his memory.

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