AGAWAM, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Running a small business is no small feat, so when we heard about a special mom pursuing her dreams of owning a local restaurant, all while battling cancer, the Western Mass News Surprise Squad teamed up to help her out.
Lori Disisto of Feeding Hills is used to working hard behind the scenes at her restaurant, Green Leaves to Go, something her sister-in-law, Madeline Presz, says is a lifelong dream of hers.
"She was lucky enough to purchase one from her aunt and move to this larger location about two weeks before being diagnosed with leukemia," Presz tells us.
Lori thought her uncontrollable headaches were from the stress of a new business, but when she went to the doctor...
"They put me in critical condition. The next day, I was in surgery, had my port put in, and had chemo the next day and didnt leave the hospital until thirty-three days later," says Disisto.
Now, she awaits a bone marrow transplant and a four-month stay in Boston.
"I'm going to miss my whole family, because I'll be in the hospital in a little bubble for thirty days and, hopefully, if I feel better, they can come see me," says Disisto.
This week, for our Buzz Around Town segment, we visited Green Leaves to Go in Feeding Hills, but our Big Y Surprise Squad had something else in mind.
After hearing that Lori was heading to Boston for treatment, the Surprise Squad got her quite the bag of goodies, including comfy clothes to hang out in.
Due to her health concerns, Lori's daughter is running Green Leaves to Go, Lori doing what she can from home.
"I know she's been struggling, trying to do bookeeping, and make end's meet and, I tihnk, the laptop was a huge source of help for them," said Presz.
In addition to a new laptop, the Surprise Squad gave Lori a $250 gift card to Big Y to help out with any food or gas she might need and a three-hour free cleaning.
"Thank God! I hate cleaning my house," stated Lori.
Alice McGrath, manager of Maidpro Springfield, showed her support for a cause she's, unfortunately, too familiar with.
"We like to help out. I have family members who passed away from cancer and I recently lost my mother a year ago in July, so it strikes a nerve," says McGrath.
Western Mass News wanted to step up and help out a little more, and gave Lori a few free spots for advertising for Green Leaves to Go.
"Thank you so much! That was a very big surprise," said Lori.
All thanks to her sister-in-law's nomination.
"We're all here behind you, and, just like I accomplished my journey, you'll accomplish yours," says Madeline.
Once she does, Lori's looking forward to going out.
"I love the casino, so I'd love to go to the casino," added Lori.
If you'd like to support, Lori, her family's hosting a benefit at the Polish American Club in Feeding Hills on June 2 at 2:00 p.m.
Tickets are for sale at Green Leaves to Go.