Friends of woman suffering from cancer share their love

Submitted Photo Laurie Faso with her husband Tony and rescued their Great Dane.

Lifelong Fredonia/Dunkirk resident, and staple of the community Laurie Faso received a troubling diagnosis in May: stage IV pancreatic cancer.

Faso, who worked for many years as secretary at Fredonia High School, and currently works as an administrative assistant at the University of Buffalo, has had a history of struggling with unfortunate medical conditions.

In September of 2001 she underwent open heart surgery and soon afterward was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

See FASO, Page A6

The hospital bills have added up and Faso’s family and friends have decided to throw a benefit to help alleviate some of the financial burden.

Submitted Photo Laurie Faso with husband Tony and their three daughters Brynn, Kara and Nicole.

The benefit is called “Fight for Faso,” a spaghetti dinner and live auction scheduled to take place on Sunday, Aug. 20 from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Loyal Order of Moose located at 296 Lakeshore Drive West in Dunkirk.

Despite the severity of the diagnosis, Laurie and her husband Tony Faso have a dream of renting an RV and going on a cross-country adventure before the cancer reaches unmanageable levels.

The OBSERVER reached out to friends of Laurie Faso to ask them to highlight what Laurie means to each of them. Here are what some of them had to say:

“Laurie is my cousin,” said Kim Valvo. “She is only five years older than me, but as a little girl and even now, I have always looked up to her and admired her. As my babysitter when I was little, as my confidante when I was a teenager, as my strength during the tough times as an adult. Laurie has been my ‘sister’, my rock, my supporter through all of my life’s ups and downs. She always knows just the right thing to say to get me through the tough times. She was the light in my dad’s eye (her Uncle Dick) until he passed away this past March. The eulogy she gave at his memorial could not have been done any better by anyone else. She is a true giver. She always puts others first. She is a true ‘good soul.'”

Melodee Leone, one of the organizers of the benefit, said, “Laurie is more than a best friend, she is like a sister to me. She and I, as well as our families, have shared countless memorable moments and events in our lives. She is the kind of person who always puts others before herself even now during this difficult time. She has a kind and loving heart that would do anything for anyone. This is evident by the time she has spent supporting the community with her involvement in community events, the Fredonia Fire Department Auxiliary and the Southwestern Association of Volunteer Fireman’s Ladies Auxiliary.”

Said colleague Kristy Harte, “Laurie is the glue that keeps our office going and provides the warmth, humor and honesty that changes a typical office from a collection of talented individuals into an office family. Laurie, for many of our student workers who are away from home for the first time, see her as their ‘Buffalo Mom’ she would celebrate with the students when they had success, hold them when heartache or disappointment happened and kept them on track when they would stray or perhaps procrastinate. There have been many UB graduates in our office that would credit Laurie’s love and support in being a big factor in their ability to graduate.

“Simply put, Laurie is one of the most beautiful, caring, loyal and genuine people I know who can brighten your day by seeing her smile or hearing her amazing laugh. At the end of the day Laurie knows how to remind me what is really important in life and that is the love and humor we share with each other.”

“Laurie is the go to person if you need to get something done,” Susan Mann Dolce added. “She also knows how to have a good time. Over the past nine years she has stood by me during many difficult moments personally and professionally. My husband died June 1, 2016 after four years of cancer and Laurie was there every step of the way.”

“Our friendship began when we both worked at Fredonia High school. (Laurie) is an amazing worker with such drive and work ethics,” Roberta Coniglio wrote. “We instantly bonded and over the years became more than friends, really like ‘sistas.’ We shared many adventures including several concerts, dinners, chaperoning high school activities and other activities too numerous to mention! Laurie is fun loving, a wonderful spirit, and very loyal and loving to those close to her. I have felt her love and continue to feel her love especially now. My ‘sista’ shows me every day what strength, love and faith are all about and I strive to be just half as strong as she is. I couldn’t love her more than if she were really my ‘blood’ sister.'”

Faso is a member of the Fredonia Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary, past president of the Southwestern Association of Volunteer Fireman’s Ladies Auxiliary, a member of the Fredonia United Methodist Church where she taught Sunday school, and has been involved with the county’s EMT program for many years.

Pre-sale tickets for the “Fight For Faso” benefit can be purchased by calling Rob/Debbie LeGrano at 583-6180, or Lynn Stock at 785-7649 or Melodee Leone at 672-5387. Tickets can also be purchased at the door upon arrival.

The event will include live music and dancing, a 50/50 raffle and a Chinese basket raffle. Dinner includes spaghetti and two meatballs, salad, roll and ice cream.