“Your Son Has Cancer” – How a Dad Copes with Diagnosis
Vince Grande had just taken a new job and moved to Melbourne, Florida. He and his family had made a visit to Mickey Mouse and the gang at Disney World. Life was good.
Then everything changed.
After his two-and-a-half-year old son, Enzo, had some trouble sleeping one night, Grande and his wife decided to take him to see the doctor. They were sent to the hospital for more tests, where it became clear this was something more serious than the flu. When doctors came to speak with him, Grande felt the tension and dreaded what they would say next. “Don’t tell me my son has cancer,” he said.
Enzo had leukemia.
“It felt like my life just stopped,” said Grande. “I really can’t remember a life before that now.” Enzo immediately began treatments, which were lengthy and debilitating. Twenty-seven blood transfusions and numerous spinal taps made it a tough road, but he continued to battle, while his family fought alongside. When treatments eventually began to take their toll on Enzo, Grande and his family drove 16 hours overnight to visit Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to see another specialist. They determined that Enzo was carrying a genetic disorder that wasn’t allowing his liver to filter the chemotherapy treatments properly. Grande recalls a two-week period after they first went to Philadelphia when he wasn’t sure how things would turn out.
After what seemed like countless treatments and surgeries in Philadelphia, Enzo’s health began to improve. Grande and his family had to move five times in five years, but it was all worth it to still have Enzo by their side. “These treatments my child had to endure, with excruciating pain, for months and months, was because he was on the same treatments a 275-pound adult man would receive,” said Grande. “That is why funding more research is so important, so we can find treatments better designed specifically for kids. You might win the fight, but the war you continue to fight for everyone, not just your child.”
The V Foundation strives to make better treatment for kids a reality, funding pediatric cancer research through a number of initiatives, including our partnership with the WWE and Connor’s Cure.
“That is why funding more research is so important, so we can find treatments better designed specifically for kids. You might win the fight, but the war you continue to fight for everyone, not just your child.”
Like many kids, Enzo is a huge fan of WWE. However, his obsession didn’t begin like most kids. “He really got into it by watching old-school clips with me,” said Grande, who was also a big WWE fan growing up. “I got him an old-school Sega and he played the WWE game for hours.”
As you’d guess from his name, his favorite WWE Superstar is Enzo Amore. Beyond being a fan, watching Amore on TV has helped Enzo come out of his shell. “Since he had cancer, he has always been smaller than other kids his age,” said Grande. “Watching Enzo Amore, who is also small, but has this great personality and is funny, has really helped him come out of his shell and he became the funny one instead of the small sick boy.”
Although he has yet to meet Amore, WWE’s Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon sent him a title belt that he wears with pride. “I’m just so happy that he really loves something. It’s really given him hope that he can do anything,” said Grande.
Grande is simply happy to have his son at his side. “Cancer really is an everyday struggle, it’s so much more than just the cancer itself,” he said. “It’s a struggle for the entire family.”
“You can hurt me. You can take away everything I have,” said Grande. “Just don’t touch my kid.”
Make a donation to Pediatric Cancer Research via Connor’s Cure