Family is Everything

By Johanna D’Addario

I’m sure everyone will agree with me that family and friends are invaluable during cancer treatment. We rely on our support system for transportation to and from appointments, help processing complicated medical information, daily care and recovery, company and emotional support.

My mom and dad, 2007

In remembering how my mom cared for my dad during his cancer treatment, I saw the love, devotion, and selflessness she exemplified for nearly two years. She never stopped caring for him; being his rock. They celebrated his good days, and she helped him get through his bad days.

My brother Brian, me, and my husband Tom on Easter 2015,

I remember how I relied on my family when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. How Tom and I were strong together, cried together, and eventually became a stronger couple because of cancer. How my brother was there for me right away when I was diagnosed, and again on the day of my surgery. How I was given the royal treatment at home, from pillow adjusting, to meal preparation, and help with bathing and dressing. I couldn’t have done it alone. The phone calls, the emotional support from family and friends across the country, the cards and letters, all got me through the difficult year.

Shortly after my mastectomy, my husband graduated from medical school. I couldn’t wait to help him celebrate, after all he had done for me. His family came to pick me up for the graduation, helping me pin my hair up and put on my dress. I couldn’t have been there without them.

My family and my husband’s family have been extremely supportive in my efforts to support ongoing research and fundraising for cancer. They have generously supported me in Memorial Sloan Kettering’s “Cycle for Survival”, fundraising for gastric cancer research, and now my fundraising for the TBBCF walk. Recently, my in-laws made an extremely generous donation to support the Hewitt Center for Breast Wellness at Griffin Hospital, which helps provide mammograms to women who couldn’t otherwise afford them. I am so proud and thankful for their generosity.

I look forward to spending time with some of you and introducing you to my mom at the upcoming Paint Night on September 25th. She will also be with me on walk day, as well as my husband Tom. Because of course, we couldn’t get by without the support of our family!

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