My name is Andy Piazza. I'm a Board Member for Komen Atlanta and I'm honored to be a part of Agile on the Green. As you read this, I want you to remember that almost all of us have a story of strength to tell. We may not know it yet, or maybe we don't know how to express it, but we have one.
In 2004, my sister, Cathy, was diagnosed with Stage 4 metasomatic breast cancer at the age of 38. She had the opportunity to get a small lump in her breast checked about 5 weeks before her annual physical. She consulted her doctor by phone and they decided that they could check it out in a few weeks. When diagnosed, she had a tumor the size of a golf ball, and her cancer had begun to spread. My sister was healthy, happy, married, and thinking about starting a family. She was successful, educated, spiritual, friendly, competitive, inspiring and funny. She was an extremely important person to me, my family, her husband and her friends. The same can be said about almost every person that has cancer.
So, how helpless do you think that her husband, my family and I felt when she went through all of this? We prayed. We sought clinical trials. We scoured the internet for any possible signs of hope. Cathy remained optimistic, determined to beat cancer, and lived her life as she had done before her diagnosis. In 2011, after a 7-year battle, she died. I still felt helpless.
Not long after Cathy's death, my long-time friend, Cati Stone, joined the Komen Atlanta staff as the Executive Director. Cati is a survivor. We need more outcomes like Cati's, and fewer like Cathy's. It was time to realize that I no longer had to feel helpless.
Cati encouraged me to take action, and I decided to volunteer for the Atlanta Race for the Cure committee. I have been the Race Chair for the past two years in which our race has generated over $1,000,000 each year for Komen Atlanta, which is then distributed amongst our grantees in the community.
Komen has just launched a new campaign called "More than Pink". The pink ribbon has always reminded me that we should mourn those that we've lost, and to celebrate those that have survived breast cancer. Now, let it also inspire us to take action. We all want to remember and honor our loved ones, but what else can we do? Please consider contributing your time, your talent or your resources so that together we can end this disease. We'd love to have you as part of our team.