By Jonesa Rodriguez - July 28, 2022
As a cancer survivor, Alicia DeFrancesco understands the importance of Miles for Moffitt, presented by AutoNation. At 15, she was diagnosed with high-risk childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia and was given a 40% chance of survival.
When she first heard the word cancer, she was instantly shocked. Depression soon took over, as she was convinced that she wouldn’t survive her diagnosis. But after her first week of being in the hospital, DeFrancesco’s mindset changed.
“After surgery and treatments it was like a light switch went off inside of me,” she said. “I was in fight mode from then on.”
Her care team enrolled her in a clinical trial. And for the past 20 years, she has been cancer free.
After hearing about Miles for Moffitt through her sister and later as a Moffitt team member, DeFrancesco knew that she had to do her part and get involved.
For her, Miles for Moffitt is more than just an event, it supports a cause in which she says she wouldn’t be here without: cancer research. And for the past three years, she has been participating faithfully.
“I love everything about Miles for Moffitt. I think it’s so important to continue to raise funds for cancer research. It means more people like me who had less than desirable odds will have a chance,” said DeFrancesco.
For the past 17 years, Miles for Moffitt has raised more than $10 million supporting lifesaving cancer research at Moffitt Cancer Center. The funding also aids the cancer center in gaining millions more in additional federal support.
Over the years, Miles for Moffitt has grown to be one of the Tampa Bay area’s premier fundraising events, bringing out Moffitt patients, team members and community supporters from all over. And while DeFrancesco says she enjoys the entire day of festivities, her favorite part is the Survivor Ceremony.
“I cry every time. I am so honored to stand there with my fellow survivors,” she said. “I’m so proud to be able to say that I am still here and I beat it, and I’m doing something to help others.”
Be a part of the Moffitt mission and join DeFrancesco and the community in downtown Tampa on Saturday, Nov. 19, for the 2022 Miles for Moffitt. For more information or to register, visit MilesforMoffitt.com.