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Robert Morris

Inspirational second-grader signs contract with Robert Morris basketball team

Jerry DiPaola
| Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, 4:24 p.m.

Jimmy Spagnolo is in only the second grade, but his inspiring story earned him a place on the Robert Morris men's basketball team.

He signed a national letter of intent with the Colonials on Saturday at the campus student recreation and fitness center before its victory against LIU Brooklyn.

Jimmy of Shaler was diagnosed with an inoperable Optic Nerve Glioma brain tumor at 4 months old. He became a viral star last February when he celebrated the end of chemotherapy by ringing a bell at Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh.

“Jimmy's story is one of hope and love, and what he's gone through in his short life proves that he's a fighter,” Robert Morris coach Andrew Toole said. “It's truly an honor to sign him to an NLI and have him become an official member of the Robert Morris program.

“Jimmy gives you inspiration that no matter what you might be going through in your daily life, that if you give it your all, around every corner positive things will happen.”

Jimmy and Robert Morris were connected through the Adopt a Child program via the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation. Friends of Jaclyn aims to improve the quality of life for children with pediatric brain tumors and other childhood cancers while spreading awareness about those diseases.

Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

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