Dominic Barone worked hard. He told cancer where it could go, beating it into remission. Then his family decided that his accomplishment deserved an incredible celebration.

Like most kids who beat cancer, Dominic wanted everyone in his hometown of Pensacola, FL to take some joy from his accomplishment. He wasn’t looking for gifts or attention. He just wanted everyone to know that if he could win, then so could others.

Then the unthinkable happened. No one showed up for Domnic’s celebration. 

What Happened to Dominic Barone?

Dominic was diagnosed with leukemia when he was just four years old. Although the survival rates for this cancer are high, with 98% of kids going into remission just weeks into their treatment, about 90% are eventually cured.

You must be cancer-free for at least 10 years to meet the clinical definition of a cure.

“As a mother, it’s like telling me that I’m about to die,” Dominic’s mom said. “The head charge nurse comes in, she’s like, ‘Hey, why don’t you talk with me. We’re going to go talk in here.’”

“As soon as she says that, my whole body goes completely numb.”

Dominic required numerous blood transfusions, spinal taps, and other treatments to fight the disease. It would eventually lead to him going into remission. His mom describes it as a “good day.”

Despite the diagnosis, Dominic had three years of daily chemotherapy to go through to support his health. 

June 28, 2018, was his last chemotherapy session. That was when the party would be. The only people who showed up for the event were a few family members. 

“I saw him looking out the window, waiting for people, and there were tears in his eyes,” his mom said. “No one was showing up.”

One Facebook Message Changed Everything

Once word got out about the party where just six adults and one kid showed up to celebrate Dominic’s accomplishment, they all rallied around him. 

They threw him a surprise party that no one would ever forget.

“He talks a lot,” said his mom, “but he was speechless.”

Local businesses got together for the event, donating pizza and drinks so that everyone could have something to eat. There was a bouncy house where Dominic could jump up and down to celebrate his success. 

There were even t-shirts printed for Dominic that celebrated this momentous accomplishment. It’s not every day that someone can go through three years of daily chemotherapy and come out with a smile, you know.

“The most meaningful thing was to see everybody there for my son,” his mom said.

There were high fives all around that day. None of us know if we’re going to wake up tomorrow for sure. That’s why being able to show love when we can, even if it’s just to let a kid have a chance to enjoy being a kid again, will be something that changes the world.

That’s the lesson we can all take from this. We might not have the power to change everything, but it is possible to change something.