COLOMA, Mich. – This month is Lymphoma Awareness Month.
Lisa Tavolacci gave birth to her third child earlier this year and soon after found a lump under her arm.
Tavolacci had two lumps removed a few years ago and doctors felt she had Sarcoidosis, an inflammatory cell disease.
"I had more lumps come in. One on my neck and they removed that as well."
Turns out she was misdiagnosed. Lisa and her husband sat down with WSBT to share her story in hopes of helping others.
In late June, Lisa, at the age of 39, got the devastating news she had Stage 4 T-cell Lymphoma.
"It's really hard. My heart goes out to people with cancer because, I feel like I'm failing at it. It's hard," says Lisa wiping away tears.
Hard doesn't even touch the battle Lisa is fighting. T-Cell Lymphoma is rare and accounts for only about 15% of all cases of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in the United States. Her lymphoma attacks her white blood cells and causes tumors throughout her lymphatic system.
"After going through this and getting a diagnosis like this, it really changes a person's perspective on everything," says Dan Tavolacci, Lisa's husband.
Lisa has received three treatments of harsh chemotherapy, which also wipes out her healthy cells. She has lost all her hair and a lot of weight.
Fatigued and often sick, she's spent weeks in the hospital with infections while also trying to keep up with her young children, Isaac who's 2, and 11-month-old Addison. Lisa often feels helpless.
"The kids, watching everybody taking care of your kids, when you want to, it's so hard."
With her spirit shaken, Lisa's friends and family are stepping in to help, holding a Spaghetti Dinner benefit Saturday from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Watervliet Middle School to help cover unpaid medical expenses.
"I can't thank enough the people that are in charge. They put together a team. They call it "Team Lisa," says Dan as he wraps his arm around Lisa.
Lisa and Dan don't plan on letting the team down and pledge to fight this disease.
"I want to do this for them, be there for them. I need them just as much as they need me," says Lisa.
"My priority is making sure my wife gets the best care so she can be around for years to come for me and the kids," says Dan.
Following her chemotherapy treatments, Lisa will undergo a stem cell transplant in Chicago later this fall in hopes of putting her cancer into remission. She will be in the hospital for at least a month.
Hundreds of people have already signed up on Facebook to go to Lisa's benefit on Saturday.