Breast Cancer Survivor Sisters Bond over Miles for Moffitt

By Jonesa Rodriguez - April 14, 2021

When Lisa Assetta and Janelle Morales met in the Miles for Moffitt Facebook group, little did they know just how much they have in common.

Assetta, who’s being treated for invasive ductal carcinoma at Moffitt Cancer Center, wanted to purchase a cancer crusher face mask that was being advertised in the group. Unbeknownst to her, the Cancer Crushers is a Miles for Moffitt team spearheaded by Morales.

“I remember seeing the Cancer Crushers masks being available and knew I had to have one,” said Assetta. “I felt like I am a cancer crusher since I am now being treated for my third cancer.”

Lisa Assetta in her Cancer Crusher team gear
Lisa Assetta in her Cancer Crusher team gear

During her next appointment, Assetta met Morales in the lobby at Moffitt, and from there the two had an instant connection — their cancer journeys. 

“We sat in the lobby together and shared our cancer stories and intuitively understood each other’s thoughts and feelings,” said Assetta. “It was almost as if we were sharing the same story or had been with each other every step of the way through our diagnosis and treatment.”

Because their backgrounds, characteristics and personalities are very similar, Morales, a Moffitt team member and survivor who also had invasive ductal carcinoma, said it was like a fresh breath of air to talk to Assetta because she understood the struggles, challenges, milestones and accomplishments that came with a cancer diagnosis. 

Janelle Morales, participating in last year's Miles for Moffitt virtual run
Janelle Morales, participating in last year's Miles for Moffitt virtual run

“For me, it is uplifting and soul-nourishing to have such a profound connection,” said Morales. 

After a few conversations, Assetta realized it was Morales who led the Cancer Crushers, and she didn’t hesitate to join her new Survivor Sister’s team. 

Now, a year later, the two are ready to join forces again as registration for Miles for Moffitt opens April 15.

“My daughter and I will be joining the Cancer Crushers again this year. It is even more meaningful now because I have a chance to support Janelle and her amazing vision to grow the Cancer Crushers team and reach a fundraising milestone — or go beyond,” said Assetta. 

For Morales, this is her team’s sixth year participating in Miles for Moffitt, and she has an ambitious fundraising goal of $100,000. 

Over the past 16 years, Miles for Moffitt presented by AutoNation has raised over $6.4 million supporting lifesaving cancer research at Moffitt and has gained millions in additional federal support, helping patients like Assetta and Morales.

Register for this year’s event Nov. 20 in downtown Tampa. Registration is $25 for adults and $10 for children through June 30, prices will increase on July 1. Those who register before July 31 will receive an early bird special gift in the mail! 

Moffitt continues to monitor the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state guidelines on the COVID-19 pandemic and anticipates providing Miles for Moffitt participants the option of joining in-person or virtually. We will provide regular updates on all safety precautions as the event nears.

For more information or to register for the 2021 Miles for Moffitt, visit www.MilesforMoffitt.com 

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