Star Staten Island bowler stars down biggest challenge: Upcoming removal of kidney

Cody Bass’ bowling resume speaks for itself.

The Tottenville High School junior already has a pair of PSAL Boys’ Bowling Borough Individual Tournament titles in his back pocket and he’s competed in the prestigious United States Bowling Congress Junior Gold Championships in Detroit.

Not too shabby.

Suffice it to say, to compete at a high level at such an early age, he’s been known to have ice water in his veins when the heat is on.

Just ask his mom, Nicole Bass.

“He’s a very mellow, down-to-earth kid,” said Nicole matter-of-factly. “He’s not flashy either. He has no problem wearing a pair of $10 sneakers.”

With that in mind, she didn’t bat an eye after seeing his reaction after she had the daunting task of informing her teenage son he not only has a 15.8 centimeter mass on his right kidney, but the entire organ needs to be removed as soon as possible.

“How do you tell your 17-year-old kid that?” Nicole asked incredulously. “But I did and his response was, ‘it’s OK, I can live with just one kidney.’

“Really, it’s Cody that keeps us all grounded,” she added, referring to family members that includes grandfather Rob Bass, brother Michael Pellegrino and Nicole’s boyfriend, Jason Brinzo. “He wants to study Forensic Science in college, so he’s familiar with Biology (subjects) and knows what you can live and can’t live without.”

Cody Bass, left, is joined by, left to right, stepfather Jason Brinzo, mom Nicole Bass and brother Michael Pellegrino during a recent Christmas. (Courtesy of Nicole Bass)

According to Nicole, Cody’s ordeal started innocently enough. She said for quite some time he’d experience flu-like symptoms — fever, headache, chills — every four months.

“I’d take him to Urgent Care and they’d say it was a viral infection,” she said. “Then, it happened again this past April, then again in May and after the last one, I wanted him tested for everything, including (mononucleosis) and Lyme Disease.

“They discovered he was anemic and after he went for a physical, the doctor was concerned about his bloodwork and wanted him to go for a renal sonogram,” Nicole added. “I can still see the doctor looking at the results of his bloodwork and the growing concern on his face as he continued to look at it.

Cody went for the renal sonogram at 7 am on June 4 and by 1:30 pm, Nicole was told to immediately visit his pediatrician’s office.

“I knew it wasn’t good,” she said. “A 15.8 centimeter mass on his right kidney and they have no idea what it is or how to treat it. They think it could be a Wilms’ tumor or a renal carcinoma and that it actually could have been growing for the last 12 years or so.

“They don’t know, but they want it removed,” Nicole added. “We’re going to (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan) for the first time (on Thursday).”

The mom said that if it’s not surgically removed immediately, it will definitely happen in the next two weeks. Recovery time is 6-8 weeks and that doesn’t even include any further treatments.

A little pool

Graniteville resident Cody Bass, right, is joined by brother Michael Pellegrino at a billiards table. (Courtesy of Nicole Bass)

Unfortunately, Cody will have to temporarily give up the game he loves, including a trip to Detroit for the annual USBC Junior Gold Championships. He’ll also have to miss several college showcases as he recovers.

“He won’t be bowling for awhile,’” Nicole said. “Two weeks ago he was living a normal life and then this reality hit, but I have to say that the amount of support we’ve received from family, friends and even complete strangers has been unbelievable.

“We’re very, very thankful,” Nicole added. “We can’t be thankful enough for the support.”

The Bass’ have already received support from Five Time Cancer Foundation and Ciocca Corvette of Atlantic City — Rob Bass’ Car Dealership — which donated $1,000 to the cause. In addition, a page titled ‘Codys battle’ was created and in just three days, $16,000 of the $50,000 goal was raised.

Naturally, the funds will help with expenses at Sloan, travel and time lost at work.

For those wishing to make a donation, please click here.

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