Luke Romano was a 17-year-old senior at Shenendehowa High School. Luke's zest for life, charismatic personality, infectious smile, and fearless determination to beat cancer won the hearts of family, friends and complete strangers. During his life journey, he inspired many because of his perseverance, generosity and courage. He was determined to never let the cancer control his life. He valued family and friends and lived every day to the fullest. By his nature, Luke was a competitor and loved all sports. Prior to bone marrow transplant in 2007, Luke was introduced to the sport of thoroughbred horse racing by Jay and Colleen Cummings. Soon all aspects of the horse racing industry became Luke's passion. He was taken under the wing of Colleen's parents, Colum and Jackie O'Brien, who are thoroughbred trainers at Belmont and Saratoga. Luke loved spending mornings at Colum's barn and being on the backside of the track. His dream was to make a career in the equine industry.
During Luke's courageous, seven year battle, our family was greatly supported the generosity of Shenendehowa CSD and Niskayuna CSD staff, Clifton Park community, friends and family. In partnership with Nick’s Fight to be Healed Foundation, we have develop three special ways to remember Luke: Luke's Legacy Pillow, Lukestrong Olympics, and Luke's Legacy Scholarship.
The Luke's Legacy Pillow:
Luke received a soft down pillow from his Aunt Lisa and Uncle Paul during the first week he was diagnosed. Luke loved his pillow and brought it with him to every appointment. His pillow was like his teddy bear. We provide a Luke's Legacy pillow to enhance the Fight to be Healed Comfort Bag to provide teens comfort and courage through a new diagnosis.
The Lukestrong Olympics has been a memorable event at Shenendehowa High School East for the past 8 yrs. The LukeStrong Olympics was conceived by Luke's classmates and has had been extremely successful with outstanding participation from the Shen students and community. Teams compete through a series of events to honor gold, silver and bronze winners. All proceeds go to support the Hope Bag project and families affected by childhood cancer.
Over each of the past 7 years, we have awarded a $1,000 Luke's Legacy Scholarship to a high school senior who attends Niskayuna High School and to a senior who attends Shenendehowa High School. The recipients of this scholarship are interested in furthering their education at a two or four year institution in the field of Equine or Veterinary Science.
Our family is comforted by the ability to give back by collaborating with Albany Medical Center's Melodies Center, school districts, community businesses and especially Nick’s Fight to be Healed Foundation.