Talon Bonanno was best described as a fighter – in the words of anyone who had met him, “the strongest person I know.” The 17-year-old cancer patient, with his warm heart and unfailing sense of humor, passed away Jan. 25, leaving a hole in the Sacramento community.
Talon attended Mariemont Elementary School and Arden Middle School, where he was diagnosed with stage 4 high-risk neuroblastoma when he was 13. He battled cancer for four years while enrolled at Jesuit High School, his story inspiring his family, peers, and many members of the Sacramento community.
“I remember hearing about Talon’s diagnosis when our class was in eighth grade and feeling very sad but also hopeful because Talon had such a strong and positive spirit,” senior Lucy Prieto said, recalling the day teachers at Arden told students about the long battle ahead of Talon, leaving an empty desk to her right. “I did not know Talon super well but from what I did, he was one of the most cheerful people I have met and such a bright light in this world.”
Having gone through several different cancer treatments including multiple rounds of chemotherapy, Talon’s strength and courage has spread light across the community.
“Talon affected the community in so many ways he made us all want to be stronger not only for him but for ourselves,” said senior Tarynn Sutherland. “He made us kinder people. He impacted us more than he could ever know. He is an amazing son, friend, and person in general. He deserved the world and so much more.”
Students from local high schools and families in nearby neighborhoods quickly came together to support the Bonanno family following the loss of their son, dropping off grocery and restaurant gift cards, sending messages of condolences and decorating their houses in honor of Talon.
Red and yellow ribbon can be found tied around trees in Arden Park, wrapped around the fences surrounding Arden and adorning Jesuit and Rio campuses. Talon’s friends spent the days after his passing spelling his name in rocks at the river by William B. Pond, decorating with red and yellow ribbon throughout the community and sharing memories of Talon’s life.
Rio parent Laura Lehrer, a nurse who helped Talon throughout his battle, has been sharing information on behalf of the Bonanno family on Talon’s Facebook Page. Lehrer shared that details regarding a Celebration of Life will be forthcoming, and the Bonanno family is grateful to have their community’s support in honoring Talon.
“His dream was to go to Hawaii with his family, which he was not able to do,” Lehrer wrote in a post on Talon’s Page. “The Bonanno family would love to fulfill his dream and spread some of his ashes there.”
The Talonstrong GoFundMe fundraiser will be used to cover the cost of the trip to spread his ashes and celebrate Talon’s life with family and friends. Close friends of the Bonanno family are also creating yard signs that will be available to purchase to keep Talon’s memory alive. Yard signs can be ordered here, and all proceeds will go towards the medical and funeral expenses.