Freaking awesome. It’s amazing what one person will do for their best friend. Lindsay Giannobile was diagnosed with Stage III invasive ductal carcinoma breast cancer two years ago at the young age of 28. The news came at an awful time as her and her husband Tony were preparing to start a family. Lindsay’s life-threatening battle with cancer put a hold on any new additions to their family.
Lindsay competed for her life through four months of chemo, six weeks of radiation, and multiple surgeries. In late 2011, Lindsay was diagnosed “cancer-free” but sadly the state was short-lived. More cancer was discovered in her back, resulting in a Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. Crushing news for many, but Lindsay and Tony remain resolved to beat this disease together. Sadly, the news most likely ended Lindsay’s hopes of ever being able to carry a child. So the couple started looking at ways to finance a surrogate.
And this is where the story gets awesome. Enter Lindsay’s best friend, Matthew Russo. Matthew learned of Lindsay’s diagnosis the night before he and his wife’s wedding when Lindsay called to share why she couldn’t make the ceremony. Matthew’s heart was broken for his friend and he wanted to find out a way to support her on this new journey. A Columbus-based initiative that garnered national attention called For Lindsay is what grew out of Matthew’s dedication to his friend.
One of Matthew’s bucket list goals has been to run a full marathon. As Matthew said, “the idea of running 26.2 miles is daunting.” But, what if he had something bigger than himself to train for? What if it wasn’t about him completing a bucket list item but instead helping his best friend? Why not combine this goal with raising money to help Lindsay and Tony afford a surrogate? It was a simple, yet incredibly powerful goal.
So Matthew set out with his eyes focused squarely on the October 21, 2012 Columbus Marathon. He was trying to raise as much money as possible to help his friends offset the expensive costs they were facing trying to become parents. With the help of friends, Matthew built the website ForLindsay.com to be a central hub for his training, donation opportunities, and ways to keep people in the loop about his goal.
Our team had the pleasure of talking to Matt this week right before he released the final blog post for the “For Lindsay” website titled “WE DID IT.” That’s right, 26.2 miles and three months from starting the campaign, Matthew raised $26,848 for his best friend. 14,000 people visited the site and helped spread this goal for Matthew. He had no idea it would grow like it did and is still humbled by the experience.
“One of the coolest things was on mile 21.5, with less than five miles to go, I see Lindsay, Tony, my wife, and family and friends yelling “We did it! You hit your goal!” Matthew shared. “It took every ounce of emotional energy I had to keep my composure.”
The greatest part of it is that the entire campaign was it was created by one person’s loving commitment to compete for the future of his friend. It wasn’t about Matthew at all, he was just the person rallying the support for someone else in need. Now that is how you compete every day.