In the summer of 2008, my mother was diagnosed with Stage 2 colon cancer in Greece. She had the option to be treated there, but since I lived in New York and Memorial Sloane-Kettering Cancer Center was among the best in the world, my family considered the option of trying to get her access to treatment here. Problem was, we did not know where to start. Everyone who is faced with such decisions knows how overwhelming–and intimidating–the choice can be. For one, my mother would have to travel to a foreign country where she barely understood the language. And then, no matter what happened, I would always wonder whether perhaps she would have been more comfortable at home. A family friend of ours from Long Island happened to know Kathy De Rosa and her story. She got in touch with her and explained the situation, in case she could help. I want to stress that at this point my mother and I were total strangers to Kathy. It still brings tears to my eyes when I think of how she did not hesitate to pick up the phone and call in a favor to her doctor, Jose Guillem. Dr. Guillem is an authority in colon cancer and a renowned surgeon. He is also a man with a very full schedule. Had it not been for Kathy, I am certain we would not have been as lucky as to have him operate on my mother. I know that it took some convincing and more than just one phone call on Kathy’s part. What is more, she treated us as though we were her own family. My mother felt welcomed here and confident she was in the right hands. This is tremendously important for someone facing something so scary. It is moving and inspiring to think of the graciousness and generosity with which Kathy helped us. Now she has become a dear friend and one that has forever affected the history of our family. We believe Dr. Guillem saved my mother’s life. Had it not been for Kathy, perhaps I would now be typing a very different story about my mother’s cancer. Thanks to her, this one had a happy ending.
To the Nomination Board of Arch Angel Michael:
I want you to nominate and select Kathy De Rosa for the Philanthropic Award based on my experience with her.
I just want to let you know of the experience that I had in meeting with Kathy De Rosa. I was diagnosed with a horrible disease, cancer, a year ago. I contacted her through a relative and my life was turned around by her. Kathy sent me in the right direction to seek treatment and today I am still receiving treatment and maybe for the rest of my life. Kathy was there for me from day one.
For the first month that I was going through this life changing experience, Kathy was there for me any time that I needed her. And I mean anytime. Even while she was on vacation, I would call her and she would talk to me. We communicated either by mobile phone (which she has at all times) or texting. She is by my side always. She has turned around a grim outlook for me to an exciting one for me. The freshness of her perspective, the inspiring words she has spoken to me, the encouragement that she fills me with, the kind words to settle my heart, up lifted me and gave me real hope. No one in my life has ever made an impact on me as Kathy did. By seeing in the media all the negative aspects of cancer, there was more positive news from Kathy. She actually knew of people who succeeded the disease rather than succumb to it. After a month or so of on the phone with her almost daily, we met. She is the most wonderful, kindhearted person that I have ever encountered. She is my Angel. Her generosity, her dedication, her energy makes her the dynamic person that she is. I have seen her in action at fund raisers and she never dismisses anyone and always, always finds the time to speak with someone or helps out. She has taken me to be blessed by Father Nicholas at Arch Angel Michael, and the feeling that I had with my first encounter with him and her by my side, was the most fulfilling, rewarding, emotionally uplifting experience I have ever had. The Father was with me, my Angel next to me and God looking down upon all of us was like an out of body experience. The sensation that went through my body was very different but I welcomed it with an open heart.
Since that day, I have experienced warmth that has come over my body and have a different outlook on many areas of my life. Whether it’s at work or home, my whole perspective has changed for the better. I thank Kathy for leading my down the path to success. I’m glad we’ve become such good friends and we have a special bond that no one can separate us. I really think the world of her and her entire family for they have allowed her to be the person she is today. I thank the good Lord every day for bringing her into my life. I will always cherish her.
I sincerely hope that you select Kathy for your award as she truly deserves it.
Meeting Kathy had really changed our life in a good way. I call it a “God Thing” Kathy was our Angel in many ways, it was Kathy who got us the appointments that my husband needed to see the best doctors, it was Kathy that got my husband through a very difficult time in his life. Not many people are like her, ready, willing and able to be there for you. For the past few years I don’t know how we could have gotten through this times without her, we will never forgot what a wonderful Lady Kathy is.
Years ago I was lucky enough to meet Kathy De Rosa through mutual friends. Little did I know at the time, that it would wind up being a blessed meeting with an angel. In our time of need my family and I quickly found out that her generosity and influence are boundless. Thanks to her and her dedication to helping others, we are fortunate enough to enjoy this Easter and hopefully many more holidays with our mother. I not only love Kathy with all my heart, but also respect her immensely. My family and I are forever indebted to her for all that she has done for our beautiful mother.
Following my father’s diagnosis of stage four colon cancer, I didn’t know where to turn. I was overwhelmed with fear and a sadness I had never known before. I was overloaded with information that I couldn’t process. In the days following this devastating news I received a call from a complete stranger; someone I had never met before. This person showed me compassion and empathy and helped me navigate the world of cancer treatment. This stranger who I now call friend was Kathy De Rosa. In my darkest moments Kathy was always there for me. She patiently answered my endless questions and calmed my worst fears. She did everything in her power to make sure I had access to the top physicians and treatment facilities in New York. There was no question too big or too small. There was no time of the day that was too early or too late. Kathy treated me—a complete stranger—like I was a part of her family. Whenever I see Kathy (it turns out that we live in the same town) I can’t help but feel an overwhelming gratitude for her. Just yesterday I reached out to her for guidance after a friend of mine shared the news that her father has advanced cancer. Within minutes Kathy responded ready to make another stranger part of her growing family. I will never forget what she did for me during the darkest time of my life. Her genuine compassion and unwavering capacity to help others continues to inspire me to this day.
My name is Stamatis Manessis and I want to share my story of my diagnosis of colon cancer. On Monday, February 8, 2016, I went to the ER at White Plains hospital with stomach pains. After an ultrasound and a CT Scan I was diagnosed with colon cancer. To make sure of this diagnosis, on Tuesday I had a colonoscopy. The diagnosis was correct, I had colon cancer. On Wednesday I had a Pet scan to make sure that my liver and pancreas were in the clear, and they were. On Thursday, February 11, 2016 I had surgery. Obviously, very devastating news for my entire family, friends and myself.
My uncle, John Fazio and his very good friend Kathy De Rosa, arranged for me to have my surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering, but I chose to stay at White Plains hospital.
My results after the surgery were very positive. Three inches of my colon was removed. The cancer was contained in one area and all the lymph nodes that were removed were benign. Over all that was amazing news. The pathology report showed stage one cancer and my surgeon and oncologist suggested no chemo.
Although I was very comfortable with my doctor’s opinions I still wanted to reassure myself and get a second opinion. My first choice was to go see an oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering and I called Mrs. De Rosa. Kathy De Rosa is the founder of The De Rosa Foundation For Colon Cancer Research And Prevention. While on the phone with her she was full of encouragement and compassion. She shared her medical experience with me and was very optimistic about my diagnosis. Her words were very comforting and positive. She then gave me a contact number at Sloan and she also called Sloan and put me in contact with an RN nurse who made an appointed for me. To my surprise, within two weeks I had an appointment with an oncologist at Sloan.
The immediate appointment happened because of Mrs. De Rosa. After reading my results, Sloan also gave me great news. Stage one cancer and no chemo.
When I called her to thank her she brought to my attention that 20 years ago I did her wedding flowers. My family and I will never forget this life experience and the people who made every day easier and unceremoniously.
There is no better choice than selecting Kathy De Rosa as an award recipient for The Philoptochos Agape Philanthropic Award. Please allow my brother and I to tell you how this, “Gift From God” came into our lives. Three years ago today, March 2013, our lives were traumatically altered. Only several days apart, both our parents were diagnosed with cancer. My father, Stage 4 Lung Cancer and mom, Colon Cancer. Having known Ms. De Rosa for many years at the Archangel Michael Greek Orthodox Church and her involvement in her starting the De Rosa Foundation, Kathy was the perfect guiding light for our precarious situation.
Our family was given many possibilities of medical treatment. A simple phone call to Ms. De Rosa was the pathway in the quality of management for our mother. Kathy quickly scheduled her for an examination with the most prominent colorectal surgeon. At that time, our mother required immediate surgery due to the Cancer’s severity. Kathy guided us through each step of the way. Kathy’s kind and selfless daily assistance helped alleviate the compounding demands we experienced with two parents with dealing with cancer.
We are so grateful for her dedication and love she has given to my family. Kathy de Rosa evokes the true spirit of giving. We know, firsthand, that she will continue to give that same dedication and “AGAPE” to others.
On September 10th 2010 my father Antonios Drakatos was diagnosed with stage 4 Colon Cancer. Our family was distraught and confused. Kathy De Rosa immediately stepped in to help with making appointments to Dr. Jose Guillem and guiding us to MSKCC for treatment.
Kathy was instrumental in our decision making and her inexhaustible approach and abundant information of this disease comforted my father as he approached his treatment and surgery. Kathy put faith and friendship forward and it has made all the difference in our life. We are forever grateful and wish her continued success in her endeavors at the De Rosa Foundation.
John 21: 17New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)
17 Jesus said to him the third time, “Simon Peter, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus again said to him, “Feed my sheep.
Why, in writing this testimony for my friend Kathy De Rosa am I compelled to include a passage from the Gospel of John? Well… for me, this is a holy time, the weeks leading up to Easter be you Greek or Roman, the message is the same. Christ gives us a promise when everything seems at its darkest and then He clearly tells us to pick up with He leaves off. Be the light. Be His light in this world. Feed his sheep.
Without getting into a bible study session, for the most part Christ speaks in metaphors and we are left to interpret His divine words. However, in this very plain and personal discussion with Peter, Christ makes Himself rather clear. I am entrusting YOU Peter with my flock. Do as I taught, literally and figuratively, feed, tend, nurture my flock. At any moment, we are given the opportunity to use our lives to become Peter. In my first encounter with Kath De Rosa, she did just that.
Late November 2015, I had been home from Sloan Kettering only about a week when I received a call from a woman who was incredibly pleasant and yet completely unknown to me. She introduced herself as Kathy De Rosa and was reaching out to me to see what she could do to help me and my family since my cancer recurrence and recent surgery. My name was given to her by a mutual friend. I was overwhelmed! I was so accustomed to being on the other end of the phone but here I was, recently home from a massive rectal cancer surgery, with stitches wounds and a visiting nurse, and trying to care for myself, my 6 year old and my home. My husband was a complete rock star in this situation but had returned to work and while I had my father to help us a few nights, I was left most evenings with my son. Even the simplest tasks were a huge undertaking. As a mother the comfort I offer my family is through our faith and our table. I know many mothers understand when I say… “I feed my family”. But at that moment, I could hardly manage a bowl of cereal and it was heartbreaking.
So, Kathy offered to buy dinner. Simple yes? Dinner.
Dinner: Be it on my way home from a full day of appointments in the city or because I just could not get out of bed, call anywhere in the area that delivered to my home, place the order and txt her their number. The De Rosa Foundation would cover it, bill, tip and … voila! Dinner is served. My family is fed. My heart and my body can rest a bit easier tonight.
But it wasn’t merely food that was delivered. It was restoring something that I as a mother was unable to provide because of a tragic situation. Something that the evil of cancer, the ravager of families, tried to steal from me as a mother. It tried to steal who I was and what I knew. It was far more than dinner that was delivered. It was Christ’s request put into action. “Feed my sheep”. This had been my dark hour and Kathy as instructed, was the light.
I want to share my story of how Kathy De Rosa helped my family through a difficult time. My husband, George was diagnosed with colon cancer back in 2009. We were shocked when we heard the news and also felt lost on where to go and what to do next. Luckily, a friend of ours referred us to Kathy. Kathy was able to connect us to the right surgeon at Sloan Kettering and get us an appointment ASAP while I was not able to on my own. She shared with me her own experience and gave me the courage to not give up. She called me and kept in contact with me during this long process.
My husband had to take tests and biopsy and waiting for results on what happens next. Kathy made us feel hopeful that we were in the right hands. At the same time I felt scared not knowing if my husband will live. Kathy stood by my family and was able to give me the strength to hold on and be striking for my husband.
Today, my husband is in remission after having stage 3 cancer. This is a miracle for me to be able to say this today. Kathy has been a special friend and is part of our lives forever. I can’t thank her enough in her generosity, hard work and efforts in hosting the colon cancer foundations in addition to all the events she has handled. She has inspired many people throughout the years and I congratulate her on all her accomplishments.
I am alive today, and I owe it all to The De Rosa Foundation.
In March 2008, Ioannis Tentomas, affectionately known in his community as “Yianni”, was reading a newspaper article discussing the De Rosa Foundation’s initiatives and the various symptoms, prevention and treatment options for colon and rectal diseases. This reminded Yianni that he was at higher risk for these types of diseases given his family history—his mother died from colon cancer and his sister was recently diagnosed.
Yianni was eager to get appropriate screening but didn’t have health insurance and know how he would be able to get the appropriate screening tests. He connected with Kathy De Rosa, who immediately jumped into action. Kathy connected Yianni to Dr. Peter Deplas, a physician on the Advisory Board, whose group performed a colonoscopy and offered treatment at no cost to Yianni. The test revealed that Yianni had large polyps and Yianni was able to seek the proper treatment to put him on his path to health. With the De Rosa Foundation’s help, Yianni is now CANCER FREE and his prognosis is excellent, thanks to early detection.