Last Saturday, a collection of Butte sixth graders put their teammate on a pedestal while he fought for his life.
Caden Puccinellii, son of Mike and Stacey Puccinelli, was in surgery removing a cancerous lump while his teammates were playing – albeit with heavy hearts – in Anaconda’s Santa Slammer, a boys’ and girls’ AAU basketball tournament.
Already dressed in full Butte High Bulldog purple, the team also wore headbands with “Pray For Caden” written on them in support. It was an inspirational site to say the least.
Caden first experienced an inability to breathe, thus leaving him to sit out from basketball practices starting about two weeks ago. When the breathing began to worsen, doctors at St. James in Butte discovered the mass in his chest interfering with blood and oxygen flow to his brain.
He was Life Flighted Friday to Denver and put into surgery Saturday morning when surgeons removed the lump. Caden was alive, but the diagnosis was Stage 2A Hodgkins Lymphoma.
Caden has undergone his first round of chemotherapy, and his father is as upbeat as can be expected.
“The first round of chemo left him exhausted and a little sick, but he’s doing pretty well,” said Mike, a 1988 graduate of Anaconda High School.
Luckily, because of the early detection and the placement of the mass, Mike says there’s about a 90 percent recovery rate from the disease.
The family has experienced an outpouring of support from friends and family since their ordeal began. Mike said friends such as Nikki DeShazo at St. James along with students and staff at Hillcrest Elementary have been “fantastic and upbeat” for Caden.
Although there is nothing solidified in terms of fund raising for Caden and his cause yet, people are working diligently around the clock to provide support for the Puccinellis. Until plans are finalized, Mike said everyone can check in on Caden’s progress by following the Caring Bridge site by clicking the following link