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Charity in memory of Glen Cove boy debuts at St. Patrick's Day parade

Family and close friends of Nicholas Pedone, a

Family and close friends of Nicholas Pedone, a 7-year-old Glen Cove boy who died in May 2013 from cancer, march in the Glen Cove St. Patrick's Parade on Sunday, March 23, 2014 on behalf of a foundation formed in his memory. Credit: Tara Conry

Josephine Pedone said marching in the 26th annual Glen Cove St. Patrick’s Day parade on Sunday was “bittersweet.”

Last year, her 7-year-old son Nicholas was the parade’s honorary grand marshal. The Glen Cove boy died May 26, 2013, after a seven-month battle with cancer.

“This year, we’re marching in his memory,” said Pedone, 42, a Glen Cove native who formed the Nicholas Pedone Foundation, to raise money for cancer research and help families who have lost young ones to the illness.

The Glen Cove Ancient Order of the Hibernians, which organizes the parade, invited Pedone’s foundation to march. It marked the charity’s “first public outing,” she said. Dozens of immediate family members and close friends walked with her, wearing shirts bearing the nonprofit’s slogan, “Fight Hard, Smile Big.”

Outside The Downtown Café, located along the parade route, volunteers were selling these shirts , as well as bracelets, to raise funds for the foundation.

A crowd also gathered outside the bar to watch about 100 men, children and a woman shave their heads for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which also helps fight childhood cancer.

The lone woman in the group, Christina Cherry, 24, of Glen Cove, said she shed her locks for the second-straight year because she is working toward becoming a doctor and wanted to be able to relate to her patients.

“I’m going to be caring for little girls with cancer, so even though I might not have cancer, at least I know what it feels like to lose your hair,” Cherry said.

Sea Cliff’s Jo Jo Basile, 4, and Rockville Centre’s Noah Montero, 2, were among the youngest to go bald Sunday for the cause, and  Glen Cove’s William Phillips, 8, had his head shaved for the sixth-straight year.

“This helps sick kids who have cancer,” William said.

Pedone said she’s received tremendous support from the Glen Cove community ever since her son was diagnosed with stage 3 neuroblastoma.

“If we had extended the invitation [beyond family and close friends], we would have had the entire community marching behind us,” she said.

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