Entries by Josie Fontana

Volunteer of the Month: Anne Bacigalupo

Anne Bacigalupo is an event volunteer at ABOH. Anne and her husband Mark became involved at ABOH when their pastor and dear friend, John Bucka, was diagnosed with nonsmoking lung cancer. They rallied around John and participated in the ABOH Twin Cities Lung Run/Walk and Golf Classic in his honor. Anne and Mark were hit again when Mark’s mother was diagnosed. They lost both of these loved ones to this terrible disease.

Anne volunteers at ABOH because she has lost many family and friends to America’s number one cancer killer. She wants to do whatever she can to help raise awareness about lung cancer and improve funding for research to put an end to the disease.

Anne is currently serving as co-chair of the ABOH 10th birthday celebration, the 2018 Shining Bright Gala. She has recruited guests, motivated other committee members, solicited amazing silent and live auction items, and has generously donated quite a few things of her own.

ABOH staff and event manager, Anna, loves working with Anne. “Anne is amazing. She works tirelessly to make sure this event is beautiful and raises money to fight lung cancer. She makes my job easier and covers many tasks that help me be more productive with my time. This year’s gala will be more successful because of her hard work.”

Thank you, Anne, from all of us at ABOH!

FROM ANNE: “When I was asked to co-chair and help plan the 10th birthday party, my response was a strong ‘absolutely’. I am excited to help build an event that celebrates hope and raises money for lung cancer research. I have lost too many people to this devastating disease.

My favorite co-chair duties have been working on the décor and the silent and live auctions with the amazing staff and other volunteers. It has been an honor to help create what I hope will be a memorable and fun evening.

Let’s find hope and an end to lung cancer.”

Katie Mann

Katie lost the love of her life, husband Benjie, to lung cancer on October 24, 2017. The diagnosis came just two months before Benjie passed, but he had symptoms long before he was finally diagnosed. Benjie was 57 years old.

Katie and the couple’s children miss Benjie every day and feel frustrated by the lack of awareness about this disease in society. They have questions:

Why aren’t we screened for lung cancer, the deadliest of all cancers, when we screen for other less deadly cancers annually?

Why aren’t we educated as a society about what lung cancer looks like and when it is time for a low does CT scan?

Katie’s daughters read a book focused on grief called, It’s OK That You’re Not OK. The author explains that everyone needs a 3AM buddy, someone to call when in need of a friend in the middle of the night. They vowed to be that friend to each other, but Katie quickly realized that her 3AM buddy was Benjie. And as it goes with grief, the pain of the loss rolls over and through her over and over again, especially in the middle of the night.

Katie recently join the A Breath of Hope Circle of Light (abreathofhope.org/donate) because she lives with the profound loss of lung cancer every single day and she knows she must take action to help other families avoid all she has been through. She is angry that this silent killer goes undetected until it is too advanced to beat. She is angry that 433 people die of lung cancer every day, yet there is little public conversation about this disease.

Katie hopes that her support of A Breath of Hope Lung Foundation (ABOH) will help:

1) Educate the public about the disease (including the inaccurate and mean stigma) using facts;
2) Support ABOH research and support services for patients and family members; and
3) Get LUNG CANCER SCREENING added to EVERYONE’S annual healthcare rights.

In the end, Katie hopes her efforts to change lung cancer outcomes will save other’s 3AM buddies.❤️