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John Regoli’s son raises money for childhood cancer in honor of late father |
Valley News Dispatch

John Regoli’s son raises money for childhood cancer in honor of late father

Mary Ann Thomas
The late John W. Regoli Jr., former New Kensington councilman, with his son, Nico, and daughter, Gianna .

Watching his father, former New Kensington Councilman John W. Regoli Jr., fight for 14 months and then lose his life at the age of 54 to brain cancer “still hurts a lot,” said Nico Regoli, a Penn State New Kensington student.

But Regoli has taken his grief and applied it to a good cause: THON, Penn State’s student-run philanthropy benefiting childhood cancer.

“Thinking about what my dad went through with cancer, it’s devastating to think of a child going through it,” said Regoli, who is majoring in communications and journalism at PSNK.

He has raised more than $6,000 for THON with some unconventional fundraising.

“I wanted to find something I was passionate about and use it to make a difference and to help others in their fights,” he said. “I wanted to let them know that they are not alone.”

So, Regoli took to competing via the internet in a movie trivia game to raise his THON money during the last week of January, the one-year anniversary of his dad’s death.

“My dad was always proud of me and my sister in doing anything we were passionate about and giving it 110 percent,” he said.

So that’s what Regoli did.

One of the more popular ways to raise money for THON is to dance 46 hours straight at the THON main fundraising event starting Feb. 15 on Penn State’s main campus.

But Regoli “schmoedowned” his way to fundraise.

He filmed about 17 hours of internet content for his own studio version of the online “Movie Trivia Schmoedown” featuring Regoli competing with players from around the world on movie trivia with some elements of studio wrestling.

The move was quirky but effective for Regoli as donors generously pitched in online.

Unfortunately for Regoli, he lost most of the trivia matches, but it didn’t affect his fundraising. He was thrilled and humbled by the whole experience.

Nico’s mother and Regoli’s widow, Marla Regoli of New Kensington, was surprised and pleased with her son’s THON campaign.

She thought it was a bit much to combine THON with her son’s internet movie trivia competition to raise money.

Then, when she heard he wanted to raise $6,000, she told Nico, “Why didn’t you start at $2,000?”

“I am so astounded he met and superseded his goal,” Nico’s mom said. “My heart bursts with pride.”

Nico was especially happy with his successful campaign for a Penn State satellite campus.

“We go to such a small campus and to raise this much money, it took a lot of people by surprise. It meant I did something right,” Regoli said, adding it was a testament to his father’s tutelage.

The Penn State Dance Marathon will host its annual 46-hour, no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon, with over 16,500 student volunteers supporting the fight against childhood cancer, February 15 through 17 at the Bryce Jordan Center in State College.

Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-226-4691, or via Twitter .

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