NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — “I believe that this is a gift from God,” said 47-year-old Sandy Cassanelli of Glastonbury.
News 8 first met the mom-of-two in October of 2018 at Dee’s One Smart Cookie, raising awareness and funds for her organization, Breast Friends Fund. And again in 2020, supporting the mission in the fresh air during the pandemic, spreading her message through group yoga at a farm.
“I was put on this earth for this reason, to have this disease, and do what I do and show people faith, show people hope, love,” she said.
Cassanelli does all this while fighting Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer, a terminal diagnosis.
But, recently, good news.
“I enrolled in a phase 1 clinical trial and we just found out last week that for the first time in a year and a half, we found a treatment that’s actually working and shrunk my cancer and is keeping it stable,” she said.
This development occurred after Cassanelli began treatment at Yale Cancer Center last year.
She made a switch, along with her doctor, Eric Winer, an internationally known expert, who left Dana Farber to become the director of the center.
“We’ve made huge progress, mortality is down,” Dr. Winer said.
In 10 years time, he believes, even more incredible strides will be made.
“Most people will be cured and a few may not be cured but will live with cancer for indefinite periods of time,” he said.
“We are almost at $200,000 for Yale in a year,” Cassanelli said.
One-hundred percent of the money raised by Breast Friends Fund is now going towards research at Yale Cancer Center.
In the last seven years, Cassanelli, her husband and two daughters, have raised almost $900,000 in total.
“I’m happy that they can see it’s not a death sentence,” she said of her two daughters, ages 16 and 20.
Fighting cancer with grace and generosity – Cassanelli’s spirit is unstoppable.
“Anything is possible and I don’t want to crawl up in a ball and not deal with it, I want to show the world, my daughters, friends you can get through this,” she said.
Through the month of October, there are more than a dozen stores around the Glastonbury area donating portions of sales to Breast Friends Fund.
Click here for a list.