GLASTONBURY, Conn. (WTNH) - "I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer at the age of 37 before most people are even eligible for a mammogram," says Sandy Cassanelli of Glastonbury.
Two years later, after chemo, radiation and a bilateral mastectomy, this mom of two found out the disease had spread to her liver. She now has stage 4 metastatic breast cancer, a terminal illness.
"I try really hard not to think about it," she says. "I have two daughters I have to look good for, feel good for. I don’t want their world to change."
This busy business owner took action, starting Breast Friends Fund. To date, she's raised more than $200,000 towards research.
"My community has been amazing with all the outpouring of support for us," says Cassanelli.
"For the month of October, we’re doing these beautiful shortbread cookies," says Dee Kittle is owner of gluten and allergen free bakery Dee's One Smart Cookie, one of a dozen local businesses supporting Cassanelli's mission this month. She's contributing one-hundred percent of the proceeds of the the sale of the cookie and says, it's the least she can do: "We needed to give it all and wanted to make a difference and there’s no way you can say no to Sandy - she’s a dynamo!"
"I want people to realize that metastatic breast cancer is real and it kills way too many young women," states Cassanelli who is direct when she she says "awareness" is all about raising money to find a cure for this deadly disease. She'll continue to work to change the future for every patient...including herself.
"Our family, we cherish everyday together, we do as much as we can - we have dinner every night, vacations," she says, of her mind-set. "I look at life so differently. Everyday is a gift."
The bakery hopes to raise $3,000 this month for Breast Friends Fund.
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