Turning Tragedy Into Triumph


Breast Cancer Survivors Take Friendship to the Finish Line

Danielle Casucci and Amy Lesakowski were meant to cross paths. Their lives were linked in more ways than one. But they didn’t truly connect until last May, when their mutual friend, Craig Rittling, initiated an introduction.

Danielle had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, and she was struggling with the devastating news. Craig knew she needed support, so he suggested she meet Amy – a former Roswell Park patient and breast cancer survivor. This was the start of a precious and unique friendship. Since that day, they’ve been inseparable.

“It’s funny, because as tragic things happen in one’s life, you get to realize just how small and intimate this world really is,” Danielle said.

It turned out that Amy and Danielle graduated from the same high school, Nardin Academy, only a year apart and circulated amongst many of the same friends. Now, both women are breast cancer survivors, Roswell Park employees, and dedicated philanthropists.

“Amy and I inspire each other,” Danielle said. “We both long to fulfill the need to raise cancer awareness and give back to this cause. We have become soulmate friends.”

As cancer survivors, they know the importance of raising funds for cancer research. So this summer they will embark on a seven-day cycling adventure across New York State, which supports cutting-edge cancer research at Roswell Park. During the Empire State Ride, they hope to meet and connect with new people, establish new bonds of friendship, and continue to inspire others in the fight against cancer. 

"This ride will be our biggest accomplishment yet," Danielle said. "We are eager and excited to cross the finish line together."

Interested in joining Amy and Danielle for this one-of-a-kind adventure? Visit EmpireStateRide.com for more information and to register! If you can't join the full seven-day ride, there are also three one-day ride options.