FANWOOD, NJ - Cole Weber, a 16-year-old Scotch Plains-Fanwood high school junior, an accomplished varsity lacrosse goalie since his freshman year, had just finished a successful sophomore season last spring.
But on June 20, the same day his sister graduated SPFHS, Weber was diagnosed with lymphoma. He learned about his condition from his parents the next day.
In a letter to family and friends, Cole’s aunt, Cindy Deegan, wrote that he “had been dealing with the symptoms for some time while playing a varsity sport and being the active and super fun guy he is.”
At the time of his diagnosis, Weber was looking forward to attending three Northeast college summer camps. His treatment cancelled those summer plans, and he is now hoping to train again this fall.
“With the same bravery, positive attitude and fight that he protects the goal with, he is using that to attack cancer.” Deegan said.
The Valerie Fund Children’s Center at Morristown Medical Center took charge of Cole’s care and treatment. To date, Cole has received three cycles of chemotherapy with one final cycle planned soon. After two chemo cycles, the original areas of concern were no longer visible. The family is hopeful that the final chemo rounds will eliminate the return of any cancer.
In support of his fight, Cole’s sister Hailey, cousin Ali and aunt Cindy created Cole’s Crusaders. Early in the process, Cole attended a neighborhood barbecue. It was the first time many people were seeing Cole after his initial cancer treatment. He announced his arrival as, “Sexy with a side of cancer.” This quickly became the slogan for Cole’s Crusaders.
“We wanted to show Cole he has a group of friends and family supporting and motivating his battle… an outgrowth of interest developed in being able to donate money to Cole’s cause in anticipation of the potential catastrophic health costs, and simply to provide a little pleasure and relief for the tough days ahead,” Deegan said.
To date, hundreds of lime green (the color for lymphoma awareness) shirts and wristbands, many made by Cole’s other sister Maddie and friends, have been sold. In addition, an outpouring of checks and cash have been donated by many as well.
Veteran goalie Rob Watterson of Nick’s Pizza coaches seventh-grade lacrosse. Watterson heard about the cause from a few of his players, Tim “Moose” Lamberta and Ryan “Lambo” Lamberta. “I actually played against Cole at a Masters lacrosse game back in May,” Watterson said. “Cole is a really cool, memorable kid. I learned about the cause from Moose and Lambo, and we bought eight shirts and bracelets from them. I found out that some of the kids were making and selling the bracelets for $1, and Nick’s decided to sell them for $5 each at the restaurant… We sold out in about a day, and the kids made more bracelets. From there we decided to help out with a pizza fundraiser at the restaurant.”
To date, Nick’s has raised nearly $2,000 by selling handmade bracelets at their counter. Customers can stop in and purchase a bracelet.
Oct. 3 is the official fundraiser, when 20 percent of all profits sold inside the restaurant will be donated to Coles Crusaders. Additionally, 50 percent of all pizza sold out front of the store from 4 to 8 p.m. will go to the fundraiser. The street will be blocked off, and Be Craftful, as well as Mara’s Café will be vending outside Nick’s from 4 to 8 p.m., and a portion of those profits will go to Coles Crusaders, too. There will be a 50/50 raffle for all who are interested.
To help out Coles Crusaders through raffle offerings or a donation, you can go to the website here .