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Sherborn 11-year-old gets a Make-A-Wish break from his battle with leukemia

Stephen Broderick, 11, of Sherborn has been battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Stephen Broderick, 11, of Sherborn has been battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
By Cindy Cantrell
Globe Correspondent / February 12, 2012
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HOPE FOR HEALTH: Since being diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia last March, Stephen Broderick , 11, of Sherborn, has endured painful medical procedures, what he calls the “hazy, whole-body sensation’’ of chemotherapy, radiation, pneumonia, appendicitis, and a virus that drove his temperature to 105 degrees.

Even though his cancer was declared in remission last summer, Stephen must undergo chemotherapy for the next three years at Massachusetts General Hospital.

In the coming months, he hopes to rejoin his fifth grade classmates at Woodside Montessori Academy in Millis more regularly. He is also looking forward to taking a vacation, a Disney cruise to the Bahamas in May, through the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Stephen, whose iPod is filled with Beatles songs, said he debated whether to ask the group for the cruise or to meet Paul McCartney. The cruise won out because it is something he can share with his parents and 8-year-old sister, Alexis.

“One thing everybody should know,’’ Stephen said, “is how lucky you are to have your family.’’

Janet Ruggieri, Stephen’s mother, said he was hit hard by the recent death of a close family friend who was diagnosed with lung cancer just one month after Stephen learned he had cancer.

“Stephen is still in therapy, but he’s a lot healthier than he was,’’ said Ruggieri. She expressed her gratitude to Make-A-Wish, Cops for Kids With Cancer, and the many other organizations and individuals who support pediatric patients like her son.

“We can see the light at the end of the tunnel,’’ she added, “and we’re hoping for a better year than last year.’’

RECYCLED JEWELRY: Industrial designer Ben Gould of Waltham has been working with reclaimed materials for the last decade. Now he is relying on the public to help his new company turn scrap metal into fine jewelry.

Since launching his LifeCycle appeal on the website on Jan. 9, Gould had raised nearly $2,400 in pledges from 54 individuals as of midweek, in return for bracelets, earrings, and key chains fashioned from bicycle chains. He must reach his $10,000 goal by Feb. 18 or all donations will be canceled by Kickstarter, a public funding platform for projects in the art, music, film, technology, design, food, publishing, and other creative fields.

According to Gould, the average bike shop each month produces 25 to 40 pounds of discarded chain, adding up to a lot of metal that often ends up in landfills.

He is working to establish a network of bike shops nationwide that will ship discarded chains to him (at his expense) for repurposing.

Gould’s bracelets, for example, are available in a range of colors, stainless steel, and electroplated chrome, silver, and 10-karat gold. He cleans the links with biodegradable degreasers, and then cold-forges the material into an accordion-like loop that expands over the wearer’s hand.

He hopes that the bracelets will be the first of many products made under the LifeCycle name. Gould intends to use any money he raises for shipping costs, tools, and the metal-plating process.

“These are industrial materials,’’ he said, “so it’s an investment in something that’s going to last.’’

HELPING ARTFULLY: Since founding the Colored Pencil Project in 2007, Hannah Richards of Acton has provided art supplies and workshops to disadvantaged children in India, Colombia, Haiti, Peru, and South Africa. Last month, she teamed with Peace Corps volunteers to share art and health education near Bavet, Cambodia.

During the 10-day trip, Richards and Rachel Vingsness of Cambridge, a Colored Pencil Project board member, worked with 2,000 children in village schools along Cambodia’s border with Vietnam. The students, who ranged from 5 to 12 years old, were instructed to draw portraits to express their experiences, fears, and dreams. Each child was given a box of colored pencils and a sharpener, along with a coloring book, produced by Peace Corps volunteers, offering lessons in healthy behaviors.

Richards said the children’s enthusiasm was particularly gratifying. As she worked in a classroom with one group, other youngsters peeked in the windows. Another time, she was stopped from leaving a village by a girl who had missed school in order to help her family harvest rice. She shyly requested, and received, her own set of art supplies.

Richards said it is largely accepted that children miss school to help their families. Despite minimal resources at home and school, however, Richards said, the children were very serious about producing high-quality work.

“We were warned that there was no guarantee how many kids would attend school on any given day, but word spread and the turnouts were huge,’’ said Richards, who hopes to continue incorporating health education into her art curriculum. “It was exciting to be embraced by the entire community.’’

A cross-cultural compilation of children’s artwork from Cambodia and other countries is on display through March 4 at the ActonArt Drawing School, 69 Great Road in Acton. Richards will attend the opening reception today from 3 to 6 p.m. For more information, visit

KUDOS FOR EMERSON: The coding section of the medical records department at Emerson Hospital in Concord was recently selected as one of three winners of the HIM Innovation Award from the Massachusetts Health Information Management Association.

The award recognizes outstanding effort in meeting the challenges of managing medical records through a new process or technique.

WHO’S WHAT WHERE: Tina Bennett of Medway has been named president of Conservation Services Group, a national energy services firm based in Westborough. In her new role, she runs day-to-day operations, oversees the company’s executive committee, and serves as an ex officio member of the board of directors. Bennett, who has more than 20 years of experience with energy and utility firms, was previously vice president of asset management and information technology at International Power America Inc. in Marlborough. She is a member of the Northeast Energy and Commerce Association. People items may be submitted to Cindy Cantrell at cantrell@

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