Benefit to help Negaunee woman battling cancer

MARQUETTE – To her family and friends, there is no one else quite like Teresa (LaJoie) Piziali.

So when she received a diagnosis no one wants to hear – cancer – the people in Piziali’s life banded together to try to help her in any way they can.

One way they are helping is through a benefit that’s set for 1 to 7 p.m. April 12 at Pasquali’s in Negaunee. The benefit will feature food, raffles and a silent auction, with proceeds to assist Piziali as she continues her fight against invasive dutcal carcinoma, a form of breast cancer.

“Teresa is an amazing person, who is sincere and always has a smile on her face,” said Stephanie Hintsala, one of the benefit organizers. “She has remained positive through this whole experience even through unexpected setbacks. She is an inspiration for all who know her.”

Piziali received the diagnosis in September. Testing indicated the cancer was “triple negative breast cancer,” an aggressive form of the disease that is difficult to treat and likely to recur.

On Oct. 7, Piziali underwent a bilateral mastectomy at a hospital in Illinois. She travels back to the hospital for follow-up care every three weeks.

A lifelong Negaunee resident, Piziali has been married to Brent Piziali for 16 years. The couple has two children, Olivia, 13, and Carter, 9. Teresa Piziali works as the program director for youth residential services for Great Lakes Recovery.

She has taken time off as needed for treatment, but plans to return to full time when her health permits.

Hintsala said Piziali’s fight has inspired a community outpouring.

“Her friends, family and community have really stepped up,” Hintsala said. “We are all sincerely touched with the abundance of donations we have received from businesses and generous donors. We hope you will come to the benefit and see the wide range of raffle and silent auction items we have. We are truly blessed to live here and it says a lot about the type of person Teresa is that so many are willing help.”

Admission to the April 12 benefit will be $6 for adults and $3 for children 12 years old and younger. The meal will include sloppy joes, hot dogs, salads and desserts.

For those who cannot attend the benefit but want to help, an account has been set up through Wells Fargo Bank for donations for Teresa Piziali. The account name is “Teresa’s Fight.”

Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253.