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Richard Monopoli and his 16-month-old daughter, Vivian, will be joined by crowds of people honoring friends and family affected by lung cancer at a candlelight vigil and lighting ceremony that will illuminate the Prudential Tower on Thursday, Nov. 20.
Richard worked with the Lung Cancer Alliance to organize the event to raise awareness about lung cancer and, in particular, lung cancer in young women. Richard’s wife and Vivian’s mother, Sara Thomas Monopoli, died in February from lung cancer. The day after Sara was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer, she was induced and delivered Vivian in BWH’s Center for Labor and Birth.
“She was only 35, and she never smoked. We had no symptoms or warning signs,” Richard Monopoli said.
The birth was complex, as Sara had only one functioning lung and the umbilical cord wrapped around Vivian’s neck twice. “It was incredibly frightening, but amazingly the Brigham team performed a miracle. Nurses like Ann Marie Murad helped navigate us through a terrifying time,” Monopoli said. “We were in the right place.”
Sara underwent surgery at BWH days later, and received treatment at the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center. She remained an inpatient in the Tower while Richard and Vivian were in Connors.
“Everyone in Connors and Thoracic Surgery moved so fast after the baby was born, but they made sure Sara was able to spend time with Vivian,” Richard said. “All the nurses were so unbelievable. I can’t give them enough credit, they’re just the angels of the Brigham.”
The Lung Cancer Alliance of Massachusetts presents Shine a Light on Lung Cancer Thursday, Nov. 20, at 6 p.m. at Prudential Center Boylston Plaza at 800 Boylston St. The event sponsors are Boston Properties, where Monopoli works, which is the owner of the Prudential Tower, and Partners HealthCare. In addition, BWH’s Paula Johnson, MD, MPH, executive director of the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology and chief of the Division of Women’s Health, is a featured speaker. For more information, go to lungcanceralliance.org