|Lebanon Valley College Commemorates the Life of Nick Pantalone ’15
Lebanon Valley College mourns the loss of sophomore Nick Pantalone, who lost his fight against a rare cancer Sunday after battling for more than three years. Pantalone was 19 years old.
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Pantalone enrolled at Lebanon Valley College after graduating as class valedictorian at Cedar Cliff High School in 2011. He quickly became an involved member of the LVC Class of 2015, participating in Concert Choir and the Wig and Buckle Theater Company. He was also an advocate for cancer research on campus, participating in LVC’s mini-THON and the Relay for Life event. His death came just 24 hours after the College concluded its 12th annual Relay for Life, which raised $44,000 for the American Cancer Society.
"Nick was a close friend of mine and was such a strong young man," said Betty Ross, co-chair of LVC's Relay for Life. "Through everything, he never once complained. He would smile and laugh and make jokes. He shared his story with us at Relay and I know people heard it. I know that everyone who heard his story, whether it was at Relay for Life or Thon or just in every day passing, was affected by it. Nick was a pillar of strength, an inspiration to us all. I pray that we will celebrate his life and use it as an example of how to live our own.
"My friends and I got the chance to visit him at Hershey Med less than two weeks ago, and even then he was still smiling and making us laugh...soon we will be able to move on and simply celebrate Nick's life, because that is what he would have wanted. He would want us to be grateful for the time we got to spend together and to rejoice for the time that he got to live. He accomplished so much in the 19 years he had on this earth. And I know that his life and his story will continue to influence people for generations to come."
Pantalone’s impact went far beyond LVC’s Relay for Life and Mini-THON – in 2012, he and his family attended all three days of the THON weekend event at Penn State, which this year raised more than $12 million for the Four Diamonds Fund.
“Nick is an inspiration,” said Mini-THON vice president and fellow LVC sophomore Stephanie Behrends. “I don't say that solely because he battled cancer, I say it because he looked at life with such optimism. You could just tell that Nick was genuine about everything, and that is what's beautiful. Nick shared his story at LVC Mini-THON, but it was not a sad story. He smiled, made jokes, and had this incredible energy. Though he spoke of something so awful as cancer, he made sure that ‘cancer’ was not what he'd be known by. His impact on Mini-THON and LVC as a whole is inspiration for this community to come together and beat cancer. And we will do that. For Nick. For The Kids.”
In addition to Pantalone’s extracurricular involvement, he was an outstanding student, achieving Dean’s list in both spring and fall 2012. In his freshman year, Pantalone was named first year student leader of the year at the Student Affairs Leadership and Service Awards Ceremony, and was recognized as an outstanding new student at the Celebration of Student Success. He was selected to participate in next month’s Inquiry 2013 Symposium with his classmates for research conducted in association with their business classes.
LVC’s Dr. David Rudd described Pantalone as “Smart as a whip, personable, highly intelligent, always with a wry smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye. If any of us can face the end with 10 percent of Nick's courage, we would be doing ourselves proud.”
Pantalone’s family was proud of the way he lived his life.
“He lived life to the fullest. He had no regrets,” said Vince Pantalone, his father and LVC assistant football coach. “We as a family will miss him terribly, but we also know if all of us lived our lives like he lived his life, we’re better people for it.”
In a 2012 interview with Lebanon Valley College web content specialist Nick Steyn, Pantalone described his reasons for living without regrets: “I’ve never had a problem with not staying upbeat because I’ve always had things to look forward to. I don’t let this cancer change a part of me, so I continue living my life to the fullest. Whether it’s school musicals, or working at Hersheypark, or vacation, I always have things to look forward to.”
The College will commemorate Nick Pantalone’s inspiring life with a memorial service Tuesday, March 26 at 11:45 a.m. in Miller Chapel. Students and staff will have the opportunity to share their reflections at that time.
Visitation will be held Tuesday, March 26 from 4 to 8 p.m. at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church. Funeral mass will take place Wednesday, March 27 at 2 p.m. at the same location. The College will offer transportation to the funeral mass for interested students. Please sign up on Redbook or contact the Office of Student Affairs at 717-867-6233.
In lieu of flowers, the Pantalone family respectfully and strongly encourages memorial contributions to the Four Diamonds Fund, P.O. Box 852, Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, PA 17033.