Think of a woman you know – she might be a wife, a mom, a health care professional, an outspoken advocate of her many passions – and you might know a woman with an uncommon or unusual cancer.

Shown above: Patti and her husband, Dr. David Iannitti (Dave).

Over 250 guests joined together on March 28 at the Marriott City Center to help make a difference in the fight against rare and complex cancers.  Over $80,000 was raised at the inaugural event, which featured dinner, dancing, a silent auction, and a powerful fund-a-need in which guests pledged funds for research dollars. 

The P Strong initiative was born after Pattie Iannitti was diagnosed with Stage 4 High Grade Appendiceal Mucinous Adenocarcinoma in 2013 – a very rare cancer where less than 1,000 people are diagnosed annually.

“The statistics of re-occurrence in Pattie’s particular type of cancer coupled with the lack of specific treatment protocol for apppendiceal cancer motivated me to want to raise money for research,” said Amy Strasser, chair of the P Strong committee.

“Rare and uncommon cancers often get lost in the fight for research dollars,” said Dr. Reza Nazemzadeh of the gastrointestinal oncology department at Carolinas HealthCare System’s Levine Cancer Institute. “We do not have a lot of good data to guide therapies especially when the cancer has spread.”

The purpose of the P Strong Fund is to provide funding, through Carolinas HealthCare Foundation, to advance treatment and research of uncommon and unusual cancers.  For more information about the P Strong initiative, please visit