Honoring Tammi, MaryLou, Sandie, and Nancy - Please Read & Give. Thank you!
Hi there, I’m Michael Spangler and I am reaching out to you to tell you a personal story and to express what a privilege it is to be able to run the New York Marathon in honor of 4 women who have touched my life and the life of four of my best of friends, not to mention the huge communities surround all of them. My team name is 4:NO MORE and this is why…
These 4 incredible women all passed away from cancer (3 lung cancer and 1 colon cancer) and I am running this race to bring awareness and to help find a cure! At the end of this letter, I have listed some facts about Lung Cancer and hope you will read my story, see these disturbing stats, and help me as I try and raise $3,500 to help in funding this organization that’s mission is to improve lung cancer outcomes by funding research for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure of lung cancer.
I will start with Tammi Zuckman Fisher, my amazing sister-in-law, because she is the one that put me on the path of clean eating and taught me so much about health and nutrition. I started to run every race in honor of her and the joy and love she brought to my life and the life of my wife, Cari and our children. She is also the reason that I am able to run this race, it is through the dedication of her son, Andrew Fisher, and his involvement with Free to Breathe and Tammi’s groups: Team Up With Tammi and Lungs ‘n Roses, that I have been given this once in a lifetime opportunity to honor these incredible women.
In September 2013, Tammi felt pain in her ribs, as if they were bruised. She thought that perhaps she pulled a muscle or injured a rib playing tennis. She went to her good friend who checked her out and said that her ribs were aligned and if she still felt the pain in 2 days, she should go see her doctor. Her friend, Lori ,called 2 days later to find that the pain had not subsided and insisted that she go see her doctor. A chest x-ray showed a mass in her left lung. The Dr sent her to get a CT scan which revealed it was lung cancer – Stage 4, non-Small Cell Adenocarcinoma. She began to research and research like crazy, visited many doctors, began to eat clean and live clean. She began to fight this disease with all she had, and she did…she was tough and gave it everything. She had amazing support from her family (loving husband, Curtis and remarkable children, Lyndsi and Andrew) and friends that were by her side fighting with her until September 18, 2017. Tammi fought Stage IV Non-small cell cancer for 5 years, she was 54.
The next three women hold a special place in my heart and are the mothers of three of my closest life-long friends. Mary Lou Scesney, Sandie Assad and Nancy Hickey.
Mary Lou was like a mother to me, she treated me like a son (along with her devoted husband, George) and her children treated me like a brother. Her oldest, Joe Daniels, was my best man at my wedding and Mary Lou was a part of my life since I was in third grade. She was the kindest, most giving person you would ever meet, and I miss her. In May of 2017, after some abnormal back pain and some shortness of breath, Mary Lou decided to visit her doctor and was diagnosed with Stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer that had metastasized to her liver. Her course of action was aggressive chemo and was looking into Keytruda, but she unfortunately passed away before she could try that course of treatment. Mary Lou “Momma Lou” passed away right at a year after diagnosis at age 75.
Sandie not only was she the mother of one of my closest friends, Jason (who also stood up or me in my wedding), she was a force to be reckoned with and a huge supporter of Cancer organizations. Sandie didn’t find out she had colon cancer until one week prior to her passing. She found out from an MRI and at that time, she was diagnosed at Stage 4. As I mentioned prior, Sandie believed in raising money for cancer organizations and was one of the Executive Board Members and party planner extraordinaire, of the Pink Ribbon Classic at The River Club in Suwanee, GA. She increased the net proceeds three years in a row and in 2017, she increased the it by 135%! In 2018 she was awarded the Pink Ribbon Award of Excellence by the American Cancer Society for her contributions to her community and she believed in the cause. I know that she would be proud to know that the money I am trying to raise for the Lung Cancer Research Foundation, by telling her story, will continue her legacy in raising money for this life altering illness. Not only was Sandie my good friend Jason’s mother, she was also the proud mother of Ryan, three grandchildren, and the loving wife to her wonderful husband Art. She established herself as one of Atlanta’s top real estate agents and was a valued member of The River Club Community serving as head of the welcoming committee and email chain. Sandie is missed deeply by so many and I hope that we can all learn from her and when you wear her signature color “red”, you will think of her and how she gave to her community and think about helping where you can.
And lastly, Nancy, her son is Jesse and is also like a brother to me. Jess married Mary Lou’s daughter and at that point, Nan became family too. On September 20, 2018 Nan was diagnosed with Stage 4 small cell lung cancer, that had metastasized to the brain. The doctors determined that a treatment regimen of aggressive radiation followed by immunosuppression and possibly chemo was going to be the best opportunity for quality and quantity of life. On 09/27 the first of ten daily radiation treatments were administered. The stress of the diagnosis, the regiment of treatments, follow-up doctors’ appointments and other exacerbated health issues began to wear on Nan. On October 10, Hurricane Michael went right over Nan's home as a category 1 hurricane, leaving her with no power, and making daily conveniences unavailable, and wreaking havoc on the treatment facility, postponing her final radiation treatments. Unable to eat, Nan's health began to rapidly decline, she was admitted to the hospital on 10/16. Attempts were made to continue treatments, but her body was too weak. On November 9, Nan was transferred to an assisted living community for rehab and occupational therapy that also proved to be unsuccessful, and her health declined further. After a short 2-month battle, Nan passed away on 11/20/2019, preceded by the love of her life and leaving behind 3 children and 2 granddaughters.
I am naming my team 4:NO MORE because I am doing this “for” them, “for” others and “for” a cure and these “4” ladies shouldn’t be gone and NO MORE lives need to be lost. It has devastated to many people and left too many holes in our hearts. 100% of the proceeds that I hope to raise will be going to finding a cure through the incredible organization Lung Cancer Research Foundation and Free to Breathe.
Thank you for listening and for your contribution.
FACTS ABOUT LUNG CANCER
- Lung cancer is the world’s #1 cancer killer
- In the US, more people die of lung cancer than prostate, breast, and pancreatic cancer COMBINED.
- Lung cancer claims the lives of more WOMEN in the U.S. than breast, ovarian, and cervical caner COMBINED.
- Although lung cancer is the number one cancer killer in the world…per death, it’s the most UNDERFUNDED cancer.
- The two main types of lung cancer are: small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Here is a link to the types within those categories, symptoms, and treatment: http://www.lungcancerresearchfoundation.org/lung-cancer/types-of-lung-cancer
LUNG CANCER SUPPORT LINE
The Lung Cancer Research Foundation's toll-free Lung Cancer Support Line is a completely free resource available to anyone affected by lung cancer. We offer education, connections to resources and opportunities for engagement with the advocacy community to those who have received a diagnosis of lung cancer, their caregivers and loved ones. The Support Line is staffed Monday-Friday between 9am - 5pm ET (8am - 4pm CT), toll free: (844) 835-4325. You may also email firstname.lastname@example.org. Lung cancer patients and their caregivers may call or email as often as they wish, and the service is offered free of charge. See below some of the ways we can help.
FOR MORE INFORMATION About LUNG CANCER RESEARCH FOUNDATION
(In honor of Sandie Assad) MORE INFORMATION About COLON CANCER
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