Meet Alex! | Stamford Moms

How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
We have one daughter, Daniella, and she is three years old.

What are your favorite family activities in Stamford?
We love to spend Sunday mornings at Half Full Third Place having coffee. Daniella will ask to go so she can play pinball and get a babyccino. We try to arrange a play date at Honey Joe’s each week and visit the Stamford Nature Center quite frequently, especially for their drive-in movie nights. We are members at My Gym Children’s Fitness Center Stamford and that has been our go-to activity for over a year now! The teachers are amazing, and they really help foster confidence and independence through play and movement. We are big fans! After gym class, Daniella will ask to stop at DiMare’s Pastry Shop for a treat! The events and festivals at Mill River are always on our calendar. In the summer, we enjoy taking the water taxi with our dog for walks on the boardwalk by the harbor Shippan Landing. and we love to play cornhole at The Beer Garden at. My sister started a non-profit organization, Fight for Two, after I was diagnosed with breast cancer while pregnant and they host family friendly activities here Stamford that we volunteer at and participate in.

What do you like about living in Stamford?
I find it fascinating how all the neighborhoods here have their own unique character and charm. As a resident of Harbor Point, I may be bias, but I love the vibe here. It is a diverse area with great restaurants, and it always feels like something new and cool is popping up here.

Tell us about your involvement with the Bennett Cancer Center.
In October 2019, I was diagnosed with breast cancer while I was 18 weeks pregnant. I decided to have my treatment at the Bennett Cancer Center after getting three opinions. The compassion and understanding I received at the Bennett Center were unmatched. I felt like everyone at the Bennett Center treated me like family and were invested in making sure my daughter arrived safely. Some hospitals would not treat me because I was pregnant, but the Bennett Center did not hesitate and welcomed me with gentle and loving arms. I received sixteen rounds of chemotherapy, seventeen rounds of immunotherapy, and twenty-eight rounds of radiation at the Bennett Center. I utilized the integrative medicine services and mental health services on a regular basis. Massage therapy, reiki and reflexology are truly the hidden gem of the Bennett Cancer Center and set this hospital apart from so many others in the area. These services are integral for cancer patients and survivors, healing their bodies and minds.

How are you doing today?
On paper, I am doing great! But I have found survivorship to be extremely challenging. I think any time a person faces a life-threatening situation, it changes them. I’m extremely grateful that I’m still standing here today, but I do grieve the life I had before cancer. I miss my care free attitude and all the optimism I once had. I try my best to not allow cancer to take one more thing from me, and in so many ways I’m happier now than I was before cancer. I always say that I find the physical pain of treatment and the long term side effects easier to navigate than the mental pain this disease brings. This is why I advocate for The Hope in Motion Walk and the Paint the Town Pink campaign. Cancer does not end after treatment or when you are in remission. Patients and survivors need access to all of the healing opportunities that the Integrative Medicine Department offers. I am extremely thankful that I have had these services available to me to help alleviate the mental and physical pain caused by cancer.

What do you love about the Hope in Motion Run/Walk?
It is so important to have support when you are going through cancer treatment and in survivorship. It is a vital component to being a cancer patient and survivor. We want to be seen and this event highlights all those patients who have been impacted by this dreadful disease. I love that the walk includes the whole family. I bring my three-year-old daughter with me to the hospital to give back to other patients, so that people can see there is life after cancer and there is hope. Hope is what got me through the darkest days, so I am always looking to show other patients and survivors that they are not alone in this. I cannot think of a better way to spread hope and comradery than with this walk when patients, survivors, children, caretakers, doctors, and staff all come together to show the power of community.

What would you tell families interested in signing up to participate in Hope in Motion this year?
I would encourage them to do so because it is important to teach children from an early age the importance of giving back and helping those in need. This event helps fund the Integrative Medicine department at the hospital and I credit the staff there for my healing after active treatment. I could not have gotten through the pain of my double mastectomy and the long-term side effects of Taxol without their services. Integrative medicine has helped me tremendously and I could not imagine how painful life would be without them! Your walk or run will help benefit the lives of so many patients and survivors while alleviating some of their physical and mental pain!

What is the best piece of advice you have gotten from another mom?
Before I was diagnosed, I worked as a Preschool Director and heard lots of advice. In that role, I also gave a ton of advice to families. Most of the advice was research based and seemed so important to me back then, but I have a different perspective now as a mom and as a survivor.

A fellow survivor told me to be gentle on myself and that is the advice that I pay forward and try to remind myself daily. There is no one size fits all approach to this job of motherhood, and we all have life experiences that impact us. Just like our children, we are unique as moms and have different tools in our belts. We all have our areas of improvement and a variety of strengths. Time is the biggest gift we will ever have with our children, so be present and play with them. There will always be dishes, laundry, and a never-ending list of household chores, but I just want to soak up every minute of every day with my daughter. I still suffer from chemo brain, so I make it a priority to write things down every night so that I can always remember her funny phrases, creative ideas, milestones, and the things that make me smile even on the toughest days.

Click here to learn more and sign up the the 2023 Hope in Motion Run/Walk!

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