When Life Hands You Lemons: Jo-Marie Frigo

Words by: Jo-Marie Frigo (WL Founder Gianina Gabriel's mother) 

In the summer of 1991, I was a young mom with 4 small children, I had a wonderfully busy life raising a family. From T-Ball games, soccer, scouts, and impromptu outings, we were always on the go! Our youngest child required a lot of care because she had severe allergies and asthma. In all of this, my stress reliever was running, I could lace up my running shoes and escape. 

In the fall of that year, I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Disease. This required a complex surgery right before Christmas. In January, I began radiation treatments. Good friends set up a schedule to provide meals and rides to my treatment at Northwestern Hospital. This was a Godsend, because my husband was busy working. In spite of this adversity, I was at peace because of the support system of love from my family and friends. 

After 6 months of treatment, against the advise of my doctor, I began to run again. I started training for a 10k race in my neighborhood. On the day of the race, I crossed the finish line feeling victorious!! A few weeks later, we hosted a party at our home to thank 200 wonderful people that provided such support when I needed them most. They were the rainbows in my clouds!