Bristol goes green in support of Jean
Advance correspondent BRfSTOL BOROUGH _ A sea of green and the roar of the crowd greeted Jean Shapcott as she entered the gym of Snyder-Girotti Elementary School on Friday morning. Pintsize kids and their teachers erupted in applause for the 20-year-old cancer patient.
Shapcott, a borough resident and a student at Kutztown University, stopped at the school to greet the gathering, all of whom wore green to show her that they wish her well.
The rally was just one element of an ongoing, blossoming campaign to demonstrate that Bristol stands behind one of its own. There’s almost nowhere in town that Shapcott can go that she won’t see a tree limb or a mailbox or a porch post festooned with green ribbons, streamers or patches. Every Friday, Cesare’s restaurant on Radcliffe Street posts a “Green for Jean” message on its marquee.
“That was the idea of my daughter Jena,” said restaurant owner Don Petolillo. “te’ll put that out ever Friday.”
Shapcott’s uncle and aunt, Lou and Cissy nuattrocchi, showed their love for their niece in a big way by stretching a huge green fabric around the trunk of the 100-year-old American copper beech that stands in the front yard of their Radcliffe Street home.
Four days before Christmas, Shapcott, a 2010 graduate of Bristol High School, was diagnosed with stage four fibrolmellular hepatocellular carcinoma, a form of liver cancer so rare that there are only 200 cases reported worldwide. Her treatment is a form of chemotherapy attached to clinical trials being conducted at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in kew York.
Because there are few symptoms, FHC, which strikes young adults, gives little warning and is often not detected until it’s in an advanced stage.
“During the first semester at school, my stomach was bothering me sometimes but f thought it was because f was eating different foods,” Shapcott said.
Pain accompanied by weight loss sent a naturally slim Shapcott to the doctor at Christmastime.
Among her “fans” at the rally were four cousins: Angela Carpenter, who teaches fifth grade; second grade teacher Melissa Saxton; and students Aidan nuattrocchi, 8, and his 10-year-old brother, Gianni.
Gianni said he was surprised to see so many wearing green at school.
“f thought f’d be the only one. ft made me very happy, very joyful that f won’t be alone supporting my cousin,” he said.
Aiden said he was glad so many people joined him in “showing respect” for his cousin.
Carpenter and Saxton said they worked with other teachers at Snyder Girotti to hold the assembly for Jean. They said that the high school was also participating in the campaign. Every Friday _ the days that Shapcott makes her weekly trek to Sloan Kettering _ the students and teachers will wear the “Green for Jean” T-shirts, green Eagles jerseys, or whatever else green they can find.
The high school basketball team sports green warm-up shirts and the school cheerleaders wear green bows in their hair. St. Mark School is also participating by wearing green ribbons, saying prayers every day for Shapcott, and making cards delivered to her every week by a close friend and St. Mark parishioner, said school Principal Maria Sanson.
“Green for Jean” T-shirts are available for A10 at Great fD’s by Anne, Radcliffe and Mulberry streets, Bristol Borough. Owner Anne talp and her sister, Philomena nuattrocchi, are sisters to Shapcott’s mother, Martha Anne.
trist bands and buttons with the words, “My friend is my hero,” can also be purchased at the store for A3. talp said that the “green” support for her niece has been growing over the weeks and many people say they are offering prayers for Shapcott’s recovery.
“That’s what’s nice about living in a small town,” talp said. “f have complete strangers come in to order bows.”
Green is the designated color for liver cancer, the same way that pink is the color worn by those involved in the fight against breast cancer. talp said proceeds from the sale of the shirts, wristbands and the buttons will all go to research for FHC.
Shapcott said that she’s moved by the support from so many people.
“ft’s just fun to see everybody wear green for me. ft makes it all feel less scary,” she said.
Students and teachers at Snyder-Girotti Elementary School show their support for 20-year-old cancer patient Jean Shapcott during a rally at their school on Friday.
Jean Shapcott, center, with cousins Angela Carpenter, who teaches fifth grade, Melissa Saxton, a second grade teacher, and student Aidan Quattrocchi, 8.