SCHERERVILLE | Tammy Albomonte is a wife, mother, three-time cancer survivor and Tri-Town Relay for Life Committee member, and she leads Tri-Town’s biggest team — Albo’s Army. Though the team bears her name, she insists it’s not all about her.
Albomonte, of Schererville, is to Albo’s Army what a drill sergeant is to a U.S. Army squad. She sets the example for the rest of the team - having relayed for the past three years, she has raised more than $20,000 on her own and $37,000 with her team.
In an effort to meet their $20,000 goal for Tri-Town’s 2014 Relay for Life event at noon May 17 at Kahler Middle School in Dyer, Albo’s Army is hosting a spaghetti dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. today at Spike’s Lakeside Inn 2, 21 E. Joliet St., Schererville. Individuals must be 21 or older to attend.
Tickets are $10 at the door. No Label will provide entertainment at 7:30 p.m.
“Whether it’s $100 or $1, (every donation) makes a difference, and I think people sometimes forget that,” Albomonte said.
To donate to Albomonte’s team, visit relayforlife.org. Under “Support a Participant or Team,” type “Albo’s Army” in the “Find a team” search bar.
Though Albomonte serves as the leader of her team, she is a soldier, too, fighting for a cause that has impacted her life significantly.
Diagnosed with cancer in 2011, Albomonte said the diagnosis came as a surprise because that is not what she had gone to the doctor for.
“Not a surprise in the sense that I thought I was immune from this disease,” Albomonte said. “I’ve never had that ‘Why me?’ attitude,” she added. “You can’t always choose what is coming at you, but you can choose how to react.”
Albomonte reacted in the best way she knew how - she joined Tri-Town Relay for Life’s fight and created Albo’s Army.
“I think you realize that when cancer comes into your life (that) it’s not just you,” Albo said. “Cancer involves family and friends; everyone around you is affected by your diagnosis. I actually believe it takes an army, and so I decided to create one,” Albomonte said.
“We want to be the biggest fundraising team in Northwest Indiana. There is strength in numbers. We cannot expect the outcome of a cancer diagnosis to be favorable if we don’t continually work to support the research that is necessary to find better treatments and eventually find a cure,” Albomonte said.
“We walk for over 20 hours. Having a lot of team members is the best way to keep our troops replenished,” Albomonte explained.
Albo’s Army is the largest Tri-Town team with 125 walkers. “Everyone has their reasons for walking,” Albomonte said.
As for Albomonte, “My father died of cancer at the young age of 56. I can also name at least 25 people that I know personally who have been deeply affected by this disease. I have buried family members and friends. I have watched friends bury their children.
“I currently have a wonderful aunt battling brain, lung and bone cancer. I have a very close friend battling brain cancer. The list goes on and on. This madness needs to end. And so I choose to walk. Not for me, for everyone,” Albomonte said.