Jim Marinelli, 57, returned to his job as a Local 88 tunnel worker after the 2016 Christmas and New Year celebrations like many of us: tired.
His work as the Project Supervisor for a tunnel building company based out of Baltimore, Md., had him moving between job sites, working night and then day shifts. All while bouncing between projects in Tennessee, New York and Washington D.C.
Any weekend off, Jim would travel home to Braintree, Mass., to be with his family. Retirement was nowhere in his plan. Yet, the dull pain in his left side lingered. Jim began losing weight. The pain eventually slowed Jim down. And after two months of testing, scans and multiple biopsies, Jim received a diagnosis of stage 4 pancreatic cancer, in April 2017. The Marinelli Family’s world changed dramatically in the blink of an eye.
Pancreatic cancer is elusive, difficult to diagnose and the 4th leading cause of cancer in the United States. There were no screening tests Jim had ignored, nor risk factors that needed to be curtailed. There were no surgical options for Jim. The Dana Farber Cancer Institute treated Jim with strong and gruesome chemotherapy agents. His family is thankful to say that after an arduous, 6-month-long chemotherapy regimen, the scans revealed shrinkage in his tumors. Jim feels better and the pain is gone. We are so very thankful for DFCI’s intervention and God’s mercy.
Life has taken on new meaning for Jim. Every day is a bit sweeter. Being with his family brings Jim such joy. He’s anxiously awaiting the arrival of his first grandchild, in February 2018.
Jim is a proud father of four, all just graduating college or still in attendance. The Marinelli’s goal is to stay in the game as long as possible and pray for new treatments and approaches to cancer that might offer a cure. We pray for this not only for Jim and his family, but for everyone that is impacted by this disease.