Badly hurt himself last September, Mark Delamere is raising funds to help care for Kevin Cellucci, father of three who is still hospitalized.
One day last month, Mark Delamere came home from a tough day at school with a headache. Mark, 15, is still recovering from injuries he sustained in a horrific car accident last September on the Arborway. He was on his way home from his first week as a freshman at Boston Latin Academy when it happened.
While riding in the backseat of a SUV with his friend Joey O’Leary, Mark was thrown 40 feet after the vehicle, driven by an older classmate, jumped the barrier near Forest Hills and collided head-on with a pick-up truck headed east. Mark suffered a severe spinal injury that has left him using a wheelchair. He also has a brain injury that can cause the headaches.
But on this day, it was someone else’s pain that was on Mark’s mind.
“He told me, ‘I was thinking about the guy we hit,’” recalls his mom, Sheila. “He and his best friend Joey started talking about how they could help. It came out of him not having a great day.”
The result: Mark and his friends are planning a street hockey tournament for next month that will raise funds for Kevin Cellucci, the 33-year-old working dad from Dorchester who was severely injured when the SUV hurtled into Kevin’s vehicle. He was in a coma for months and remains hospitalized, away from his wife Tina and three small kids, still struggling with a traumatic brain injury that has left him unable to communicate with his loved ones.
On a Facebook page that his wife set up to keep friends up to date with Kevin’s care, Tina Cellucci described her husband’s intense physical therapy sessions— including his first tentative steps, in April.
“I’m loving the way things are going lately,” Tina wrote. “It’s been almost 8 long months but I think we’ve finally got the meds under control and things are moving in the right direction.”
Mark’s progress has been steady but frustrating at times. An all-around athlete, he loves street hockey, a sport that has really become a sensation in his home town of West Roxbury. He has even donned goalie gear in recent weeks and minded the net in his wheelchair, thanks to some help from his buddies at Fallon Field. A street hockey tourney was held as a fundraiser in Mark’s honor last November. Now, he’s hoping to “pay it forward” by organizing the “Kevin Cellucci Classic” — featuring teams from Dot, Westie, and other Boston neighborhoods— on June 21.
“The boys just decided that’s what they wanted to do,” said Sheila, who said Kevin’s wife has given the fundraiser her blessing. “We’re hoping it will help the kids heal in some way too.”
Mark’s road to recovery has been arduous. After he was stabilized at a Boston hospital, he was flown to Atlanta for specialized care that lasted 11 weeks. After returning home in December, he returned to Boston Latin Academy, where he’s trying to adjust to the realities of his new life. “It has been a struggle,” his mom admits. “The brain injury has made it hard for him—but everyone over there has been really great and helping him.”
Sessions of physical therapy at Journey Forward in Canton and workouts at a South Boston gym leave Mark exhausted at the end of each day. But he is focused on making the Cellucci Classic a success. Joe Donahue, who runs street hockey leagues in West Roxbury and coordinated the tourney for Mark last fall, is pitching in to help Mark run the June 21 event.
“It is anticipated that teams from West Roxbury will play teams from Dorchester, in several different age brackets, as a means of friendly competition and, more importantly, to raise funds and awareness of Kevin Cellucci’s situation,” said Donahue.
Details on how to register are still being ironed out, but you can track the event’s progress at Mark’s Facebook page and here at DotNews.com.
“We’re hoping we have a great big turnout,” said Sheila Delamere.