“I know this type of information is not what is typically written about in Mt. Lebanon Magazine, but you may want to consider an article about how the community comes together in the wake of such tragedies,” Woodhaven Drive resident and friend Margaret Izzo wrote to me this summer. Margaret and her son and daughter, like a too-long list of other Mt. Lebanon families, had just dealt with the death of her husband, Todd, a bright, shining star of a man, whose laugh ignited every party and whose head for numbers and logic was infinite. When Todd died of stomach cancer at 49, we were dumbfounded.
The Izzos were not alone. Cancer hit so many Mt. Lebanon families this year, including many young adults. We do not have enough four-letter words to hurl at this insidious disease, which has stolen so many wonderful people from us. But Margaret, and many of the families like hers, doesn’t dwell on that. What they want you to know is how wonderful this community is and how everyone held them up during the worst time in their lives.
To be sure, we have many stories of survival, of families who emerged from the upheaval of diagnosis and treatment, but those families also speak of the legions of neighbors who stood by their sides.
This fighting spirit has risen again with beloved Mt. Lebanon High School Principal Brian McFeeley’s ongoing battle with stage IV pancreatic cancer. Brian’s wife, Keary, a teacher at the high school, has expressed thanks for all the kind words, gifts and support for her and their two sons. McFeeley Strong T-shirts spotted around town proclaim: “The Lebo family does not fight alone.” Indeed.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and writer Katie Wagner talked to a Mt. Lebanon family who knows firsthand the importance of genetic testing for families who notice cancer patterns. Read the story, find out if you should get tested and learn the personal twist Katie never expected as she was doing her research.
While it’s on your mind, make those appointments. Whether you’re due for bloodwork, a mammogram, a colonoscopy or some other routine screening, schedule it today.
And please save the date of June 13, 2020, for the new, invigorated Relay for Life of Mt. Lebanon at the high school stadium. You also can support many of the activities they present throughout the year. With your donations and your help, the last four-letter word we will ever need to hurl at cancer is “CURE.”
Laura Pace Lilley, Editor in Chief
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