St. Anselm, Bedford offer help for Henry
BEDFORD — When Henry Archibald-Lupo, 3, began showing signs of illness in January, his parents thought it may be appendicitis. After an ultrasound, Henry’s doctors discovered a large soft-tissue mass, which was diagnosed as desmoplastic small round cell tumor.
The sarcoma is an aggressive and rare tumor that primarily occurs as masses in the abdomen, and mainly strikes boys and rarely affects girls. Henry’s parents, Kenn Archibald and Jon Lupo, were referred to Boston Children’s Hospital and the Jimmy Fund Clinic at Dana Farber.
“He had pain in his abdomen and a slight fever. At the Elliot (hospital), they did an ultrasound and couldn’t see his appendix because of a large mass in his abdomen,” said Archibald. “The next several days were spent doing tests and a biopsy, and it took 10 to 12 days to come up with a diagnosis.”
On April 10, a benefit organized by St. Anselm College students and staff was held at the Dana Center for the Humanities, where more than 300 people attended and donated $7,430.
“The event was overwhelming in the best possible sense,” said Lupo, who is a professor of media studies at St. Anselm.
The event featured guitarist and vocalist Ryan Sandford of Bedford, a member of the class of 2015; the Joshua Incident featuring Ann Norton on vocals; Davis and Deleault; and the Gleason-Brown Jazz Quintet; as well as a bake sale and a silent auction.
Proceeds from the concert will go to the family to cover medical costs and all other expenses related to Henry’s treatments.
“I feel very touched and very honored,” Lupo said about the college’s support. “I’ve only been there a year and a half and they have really embraced me and my family. They’re really enacting their faith and humanity. Feeling the love and bond from the community is really tremendous.”
Henry is undergoing 52 weeks of chemotherapy, is scheduled for surgery in May then will have radiation treatments.
The family is renting an apartment in Boston to be closer to the Dana Farber clinic, where Henry receives treatments three to five days a week.
“The initial aggressive chemotherapy has greatly shrunk the tumor by 80 percent and the satellite tumor has also reduced,” said Archibald.
Lupo said the family is overwhelmed by the support of the community and friends.
“People have donated toys and $5 and $10 here and there. We have good insurance, thanks to St. A, but mileage and gas is an expense. It’s all very helpful so we can focus on Henry and his care,” he said.
Despite his illness and treatment, Henry is a typical toddler who is full of energy, curiosity, a desire to chase and be chased, and loves his new interest in lassoing.
“He’s been a trooper. He was a month premature and a fighter from the get-go,” said Archibald. “He’s such a strong kid and if anybody can get through this, he can.”
The couple met in 2001 when Lupo was in graduate school, and married in 2006 in Massachusetts. They lived in several states before moving to Bedford in 2012. While living in Colorado, they adopted Henry the day after he was born on Oct. 31, 2010. Archibald, who is now a stay-at-home dad, had worked for children’s author Eric Carle.
Before his illness, Henry attended KinderCare in Bedford and has only had a chance to go to school once since treatments began.
“He was able to see his friends and they cheered him up,” Archibald said.
Henry is becoming more familiar with the treatment and procedures — something that helps his family cope with the situation.
“The chemo and injections are becoming more routine. As far as his disposition, he’s so full of life and happiness. He’s an inspiration to all of us going through this,” said Archibald.