Legendary Nick Cardi, the eldest of the iconic NIROPE team of brothers at Cardi's Furniture & Mattresses, passed away today.

Nick was a source of inspiration for me personally and a smiling and friendly face with his brothers Ron and Pete, who loved and cherished the children at Meeting Street, the Ronald McDonald House, AIDS Project RI and the Alzheimer's Association. These brothers formed one of the greatest furniture and mattress businesses and a philanthropic group that touched the hearts of many local communities around New England.

For those of you who only knew Nick from the TV, radio or print commercials, I want to share with you part of the story of why I loved Nick Cardi, who he was, and all he fought for.

Four years ago, Nick was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive sarcoma, brain cancer. With a very low survival rate and no FDA-approved cures, Nick, his son Nick and family started looking at the options for treatment. What they discovered was that clinical trials are at the center of all medical advances and cutting-edge medicines. Nick realized without trials there are no cures, and from this realization, the beginning of the Fast Trek.org Foundation was born because of Nick's public-spiritedness and "brotherly love."

Clinical trials have shown so much promise, and yet few patients ever enroll because of lack of understanding how to navigate the options available, staying current and many believing trials cost a lot–when in fact most, if not all trials, are FREE for the participant!

That was the barrier Nick and his family found and that was the hurdle Nick and Fast Trek.org Foundation were determined to triumph over.

Through their tireless efforts to get the word out, especially to others suffering onerous diseases without FDA-approved cures, about how important it is to participate in clinical trials, in Nick's honor, please share this with other patients, patient-advocates, caregivers, friends, and family members.

So as we all share in the sorrow of Nick's passing, think of his love for not only the children at Meeting Street, but his vibrant fight to help many others, and celebrate his life that was dedicated to doing the right things. May Nick's memory be eternal.

Please find out more about the FastTrek.org Foundation by visiting their website.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at phil@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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