It started with a marble-sized cyst, doctors thought to be a non-cancerous lump, in Antonella D’Alessio’s right breast.  During a sonogram, doctors discovered a malignant tumor in another area in that same breast. It was determined that surgery to remove the tumors, followed by chemotherapy, was the recommended treatment.

“Chemo was a rough ride for me,” says Antonella of Port Washington, who fought breast cancer when she was 28. “While my family was supportive, they didn’t completely understand.”  

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Just as she was finishing up her first chemotherapy treatment, she heard about an organization that understands cancer through and through: The Adelphi NY Statewide Breast Cancer Hotline and Support Program.

“Adelphi really helped me, and they were very comforting,” she recalls. “I felt like someone was there for me.” Now, eight years later at the age of 36, Antonella wants to be the woman on the other end of the phone line.  Recently, Antonella began training as a hotline counselor. She also assists with Creative Cups, the organization’s annual fundraising gala. According to the group’s website, participants design and build original works of art using bras, which are exhibited and auctioned.

She credits the inspirational stories she has heard from the group for powering her through her recovery, along with the support of friends and her late dog, Bianca, who “licked my tears and spent every second with me.”