JOHNSTOWN – In early June, Alana Letizia was in bed preparing to read her daughter Myla a book. As the 5-year-old snuggled up to her mother’s chest, Alana felt something different inside her breast. Still in her early thirties and several years away from her first mammogram, she dismissed it. But the feeling was awkward enough for it to stay on her mind.
A few days later, she decided to make an appointment with her doctor just to rule out any issues. That appointment led to more tests, more doctor visits and ultimately, the diagnosis that she dared not even think about – breast cancer.
Since then, it has been a whirlwind of more appointments, scans and beginning chemotherapy protocol. While her prognosis is favorable, the treatment has been at times debilitating and a difficult surgery looms.
Alana has a strong and ever-present family that includes, first and foremost, her husband, Johnstown Tomahawks Head Coach Mike Letizia.
“It’s clear to anyone who knows Mike that he is a dedicated family man, and a person who cares deeply for his community,” said Richard Bouchard, general manager and team president. “That is why the Johnstown Tomahawks are preparing to rally around the Letizia family in a way that will leave no doubt that the team and community return that love and support right back to them.”
For seven seasons and counting, the Johnstown Tomahawks have helped hundreds of charities, organizations and families, making a significant difference in our community. That support has now come full circle.
In partnership with Chan Soon-Shiong Medical Center at Windber, the team’s Faceoff Against Cancer event set for Saturday, Oct. 6 will be a fundraiser for Alana as well as the Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center (JMBCC) in Windber.
Rockwood Area School District, where Alana teaches, will have co-workers and students at the game to help the fundraising efforts by selling Chuck-a-Pucks and baskets.
1ST SUMMIT ARENA will sell specialty strawberry lemonade Sobe drinks with a portion of the sales going to the Letizia family and JMBCC.
Additionally, the Tomahawks will be hosting a basket raffle during the game as well as auctioning off game-worn pink specialty jerseys via the DASH Auction App.
“As a three-year player here in Johnstown, I’ve seen how much the community cares for one another,” Tomahawks captain Chris Trouba said. “Our team is a family and we’ve been fortunate to become part of the Johnstown community. The players, staff and the entire organization are rallying around Mike and Alana and helping her beat cancer.”
The Tomahawks play in the original Hockeyville and proudly tout having the most powerful fan base in the entire NAHL. The team is asking their fans to rally around one of their own, most likely to be considered “Fan #1”…Alana Letizia.