Quebecer keeping mother’s legacy alive by helping others battle cancer

By Felisha Adam

To honour his mother, who passed away due to stage four lung cancer, Quebecer, Anthony Pacella founded the StrikeOut Cancer fund when he was just 15-years-old. Now over 10 years later he continues to keep her memory alive, raising money to help others battling cancer.

“This was our actual last trip as a family. Before my mom got sick,” said Pacella while looking through a photo album.

StrikeOut Cancer fund began as Anthony’s way to bring happiness to his Mom Maria Melillo Pacella while she battled cancer, fundraising through the game of bowling when Maria’s condition worsened, Pacella says he wrote a letter to her.

“In the letter I was just saying, ‘hey mom, this is something I wanted to have you there. Unfortunately, it’s not what’s going to happen, I want to live the rest of my life and her legacy. I want to make you proud’.”

In response, Pacella says his mom gave him a thumbs up.

Note Anthony Pacella wrote to his mother. (Photo Credit: Felisha Adam, CityNews)

“That thumbs up is kind of something that even now, 12 years later, like, it still motivates me to want to bring change and do and do something.”

Pacella has helped raise $200,000, part of which has been donated to St. Mary’s Hospital, where his mom was treated.

Also working with Make a Wish Foundation, he has granted the wishes of many children diagnosed with cancer.

“They’re so special. We have had crazy wishes, like going to the Bahamas and seeing sea animals or going to see our elephants. A lot of the wishes I do, go to Disneyland. I mean, who wouldn’t want to go to Disneyland as a kid?”

Anthony Pacella helps others battling cancer. (Photo Courtesy: Anthony Pacella)


On April 23, StrikeOut Cancer’s annual Bowl-a-Thon will return for its tenth edition after COVID-19 forced its cancellation for the past two years.

Taking place at Centre-De-Quilles-440 in Laval north of Montreal – the tenth edition will focus on making many wishes come true. Pacella says he never thought the initiative he started when he was 15-years-old – to carry on his mother’s legacy – would become one that would help so many families.

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