PARKLAND, FL- Stoneman Douglas Girls Softball Coach Sal Vacirca could sense something was wrong in June as the MSD girls wrapped up another successful softball season. Vacirca, a current softball and past Parkland Flag Football coach with children in Parkland schools, was experiencing numbness in his right leg and foot. A trip to the ER resulted in unexpected and grim news; Sal was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a rare form of cancer that develops in the brain.
Vacirca, a father of six children, was rushed into surgery at a local hospital in an attempt to remove the brain tumor. The surgery was encouraging, as the neurosurgeon was able to remove about 90% of the tumor. However, Sal was left without feeling or movement in his right leg or hand following the surgery.
Sal was put on 12 months of chemotherapy and radiation to fight the aggressive cancer once the surgery was complete. He had a setback in September, as his brain began to swell as a side effect from the radiation. Due to this setback and being placed back into the hospital, Vacirca is not currently able to work.
Vacirca has worked in higher education for over 30 years and is currently employed at Palm Beach State College. His wife, Amy, is a public school teacher. She continues to manage life for the family of eight while Sal battles cancer.
"The current plan is to continue with the prescribed chemotherapy regimen over the next 12 months, as well as to receive infusions every 4 weeks," shares Amy. "The prognosis with glioblastoma is tough as it’s a very hard cancer to fight. But Sal’s neuro oncologist is very positive. He is doing therapy to gain strength and mobility and hopefully be able to walk again."
Sal says he feels blessed by the support and encouragement of the community. A Go Fund Me called "No One Fights Alone" has been set up in Sal's honor to help defray the obvious medical and financial expenses the family is facing.
"The Go Fund Me is used to help pay for Sal’s medical bills, to help him regain the use of his right side, as well as monthly living expenses as Sal is not working and has not worked since mid-September. A public school teacher’s salary is just not cutting it. Our goal is to get through the holidays and hopefully by February, Sal may be able to go back to work," shares Amy.
To follow Sal's journey or to support the Vacirca family, please visit their "No One Fights Alone" Go Fund Me page.