NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (PIX11) – Gianna Ambrosio is a 16-year-old girl from New Rochelle, and her face will soon be seen at Stop & Shop locations across the tri-state. It’s part of the grocery store chain’s campaign to raise money for pediatric cancer research in partnership with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
“With every dollar donated, you are helping another child with cancer to receive the amazing care that I was so fortunate to receive at MSK,” Ambrosio said.
She’s a patient ambassador for the “Help Cure Childhood Cancer” campaign and is a fighter and survivor. She was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma, a rare cancer, in her left femur in 2019.
“Five months before that, I was just a normal 13-year-old playing softball,” Ambrosio said. “I was catching at a game that previous May and went home with the worst pain in both of my knees.”
With supportive friends and family, she completed 13 rounds of chemotherapy and underwent surgery.
Her oncologist, Dr. Paul Meyers, who is the vice chair of pediatrics at Sloan Kettering, says the disease affects teenagers at the peak time of their growth. Only about 350 people, mostly young, are diagnosed annually in the United States.
“These funds allow us to do groundbreaking, novel, innovative studies that we can rapidly translate into benefits for our patients,” Dr. Meyers said.
Stefanie Shuman, the public relations manager for Stop & Shop stores in New York and New Jersey, says shoppers can round up their purchase to the nearest dollar or donate $1, $3 or $5.
“100 percent of that donation goes to our fantastic partners at the pediatrics department at Memorial Sloan Kettering,” Shuman said.
The campaign has helped other patient ambassadors as young as 3 years old across the region.
Ambrosio recently celebrated her birthday and Stop & Shop gave her a custom jersey from her favorite sports team, the New York Islanders. She proudly shows off the scars on her legs, even though she didn’t always want to.
“As time went on I realized that I should show it off,” Ambrosio added. “I should show that I’m a survivor and I should be proud that I went through what I did and I came out strong and here I am now.”
Throughout the 21-year partnership, more than $26 million has been raised to date. Customers can donate at more than 400 locations along the east coast.