At three years old in 2012, Carter Bucciero played with other kids, enjoyed time with his mom and ate cookies. Carter also received blood transfusions. He went through brain surgery and chemotherapy.
Carter died that year due to complications related to a low-grade Astrocytoma tumor in his brain.
Sarah Bucciero, Carter’s mom and a Fort Mill resident, now helps raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“They gave me 10 months with my son that I wouldn’t have had,” Bucciero said.
Sarah Bucciero will participate in the St. Jude Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon Weekend fundraiser in Nashville, Tenn., April 26-29. She will complete a 0.5-mile run in Carter’s honor. Donations can be made online.
“In my mind, it’s not only about continuing Carter’s legacy, it’s about giving back,” Bucciero said. “Carter was a pretty special little boy and he continues to give back and live because of what we are able to do for St. Jude.”
Seventh and eighth graders at Springfield Middle School in Fort Mill also collect money to help Bucciero’s effort. She was a teacher at Springfield. Now she works as an educational consultant with Discovery Education.
In the five years since Carter’s death, the students have raised $40,000, Bucciero said. She currently is one of the top 10 fundraisers for this year's Nashville Marathon.
Springfield’s fundraiser started a few years ago as a Beta Club project, but has grown to include all of the seventh grade and some eighth graders, said Amanda Stevens, a seventh grade math teacher and Beta Club coordinator at Springfield.
“It means the world to me that kids are helping other kids who are struggling,” Bucciero said.
She said St. Jude is more than a place where children receive intensive medical care. It's a place where they are loved and given chances to enjoy life. She said the hospital works to make children feel at home with playrooms, a prom for teenagers, a school and other features.
“Carter loved it there,” Bucciero said. “I call it the Disney World of hospitals. Yes, there’s sadness there, but there is so much hope and beauty. The children’s spirits are so vibrant there.”
Bucciero took Carter to St. Jude in November 2011 after his tumor was discovered. Bucciero said he was lethargic and vomiting every day.
“I knew something was wrong,” she said.
Bucciero said her son’s tumor was aggressive. She said St. Jude tried experimental treatments for Carter. Families at St. Jude are not charged for treatment, travel, housing or food.
“There aren’t words to truly express my gratitude for that,” Bucciero said. “It was life-changing.”
Bucciero, along with the Fort Mill students, now fight to support St. Jude. It costs more than $2 million a day to run the research hospital, with the majority of funds coming from donations, according to St. Jude.
“They gave us so much,” Bucciero said. “They never stopped fighting for Carter.”
Want to help?
- Donate online to Sarah Bucciero’s fundraiser.
- Donate to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital on its website.