SOMERS, N.Y. - Before he attended the event for the first time two years ago, Paul Faust expected the American Cancer Society’s Evening of Hope to follow the same routine as most other charity functions he had been to. He would listen to a few speeches, have dinner and go home.
What the Somers resident didn’t bank on was that he would informally adopt a “little brother” who would change his life for the better.
Nicholas was a young cancer patient who spoke at the 2010 Evening of Hope about his positive experiences at Camp Adventure, a summer camp on Long Island for children battling pediatric cancer. Faust was awed that that the boy's attitude stayed steadfastly positive despite his illness.
“I went over to the family and told Nicholas, ‘you have a new big brother’ and I told him I’d always be around if he needed anything,’” Faust said.
He fulfilled that promise sooner than expected when Nicholas’s cancer tragically returned a few weeks later. It was then that Faust sprang into action— he started making frequent visits to Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, got Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter to call Nicholas on the phone and even bought him an iPad.
“Cancer now had a face to me, and that face got into my bloodstream,” Faust said.
When Nicholas tragically passed away from cancer within that year, Faust even spoke at his funeral. This year, the American Cancer Society’s Evening of Hope event at Trump National Golf Club in Briarcliff Manor will honor Faust for his contribution to Nicholas and the cancer community as a whole.
“It hit me when I was walking around Maria Fareri Hospital visiting Nicholas,” he said. “I was passing 10 other rooms, and the children in each of those rooms had their own stories that I had nothing to do with. Cancer took on a different meaning to me.”
In addition to his role as partner of Primary Wave Media, Faust is a volunteer firefighter with the Somers Volunteer Fire Department.