By Jonesa Rodriguez - November 21, 2022
When a group of Moffitt Cancer Center nurses found out that their longtime friend and colleague Louisa Rattini-Reich was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, they were all devastated.
Knowing what comes with a diagnosis, the nurses’ natural instinct to help and support kicked in. Nurses from various clinics within the cancer center began sending Rattini-Reich encouraging calls, texts and cards every day.
A Moffitt nurse for more than 20 years, Rattini-Reich never met a stranger a day in her life. Her sparkling personality, positivity and intense love for her patients cause everyone who comes into contact with her to feel an instant bond.
Wanting to give back the love and care that Rattini-Reich has given for countless others, the nurses created a Miles for Moffitt team in her honor called team Lousia. After finding out about the team, family, old college friends, neighbors and more flocked to her team to show their love and support.
With over 80 members, including Rattini-Reich, the team showed up to Miles for Moffitt, presented by AutoNation, on Saturday, Nov. 19 sporting their purple team shirts and flamingo gear. During the award ceremony, they were honored with the Spirit of Miles for Moffitt award. The team raised $9,000, contributing to the overall $1.4 million the event has raised so far.
“We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of community support for our 2022 Miles for Moffitt,” said Maria Muller, president of the Moffitt Foundation. “The money raised from this remarkable event will go to research that benefits those touched by cancer, not just in the Tampa Bay area, but everywhere.”
This year, the cold weather didn’t stop participants from gathering in Downtown Tampa. The 17th annual fundraising event broke last year’s numbers with more than 7,600 people participating in person or virtually and forming 370 teams.
Joshua Rivera and 10 Tampa Bay’s Frank Wiley and Caitlin Lockerbie returned once again to host, while the cancer center also welcomed for the first time anchor David Perez Hansen from Univision. Also new to the event was DJ Ekin from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who kept the crowd pumped throughout the morning from the Miles for Moffitt Party Deck.
After the Zumba warmup, the cancer center leaders joined the main stage to thank the community for their continuous support.
Moffitt’s youngest participants also joined in on the fun as they danced and ran with Tampa Bay Rays’ mascot Raymond.
The event closed with a tribute ceremony, where Moffitt held a moment of silence for those who have lost their battle and for those still fighting.