BRISTOL – At the ‘Nick’s Epic Race’ Pinewood Derby, dozens of community volunteers turned out to help with medical expenses for Nick Parenti, a local Boy Scout who was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
The Derby was sponsored by the Sons of the American Legion Squadron 209 on behalf of Cub Scout Pack 425 and the Gloria Dei Lutheran Church. Nick Parenti, 7, was out of state for a medical consultation on Saturday. Parenti’s older brother Alex, 11, was present at the event along with his father Rob Parenti.
Visitors who stopped by to donate could race around racetracks in pinewood cars or flat out down a 100-foot ski slope. They could use simple, pre-cut cars themselves, cut their own cars, or race their own cars.
Rob Parenti said Nick Parenti was happy to hear how many people came out to support him.
“I spoke to him via video chat this morning and he’s very happy,” said Rob Parenti. “He built his own green pine derby car, which he called The Hulk. He told me to let him know how it works.”
Alex Parenti said that two years ago, before the pandemic, he finished second in a Pinewood derby and his brother Nick finished first.
“I’m so happy we’re here to help my brother,” he said.
Brian Brady, Nick Parentis cave leader, said he was “a good boy”.
“He has a very polite attitude and is very competitive,” Brady said. “He loves the Pinewood Derby, is very close to nature and is a big sports fan. He is very good with the other scouts.”
Jen Capitao, organizer of the event, said she has known the family since Nick Parenti joined and wanted to help.
“The Boy Scouts are a big family on their own,” she said. “We are happy to make our contribution.”
Zoey Rupert, 13, another Troop 425 scout, distributed cars to participants in the Pinewood Derby. She said the Pinewood Derby was “a really good project to help a local family in a bad situation”.
“It’s about raising awareness and raising funds,” she said. “I heard Nick is a sweet kid and very nice.”
Rob Parenti said the family created a Gofundme page to help with medical expenses. Thanks to community support, they’ve raised $55,000 so far. Her goal is to raise as much money as possible – at least $100,000.
“We are very grateful to everyone who has supported us,” he said.
Anyone wishing to support the Parenti family can do so at gofund.me/c989f5a0.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or [email protected]