Mille grazie for helping Assunta (1000 thanks)

I am reaching out to you to solicit help for a critically ill friend, Assunta Annarumma. First and foremost, please keep her in your thoughts and/or prayers. This dear friend is faced with serious illness and overwhelming hospital costs, and your help would be so appreciated. I met Assunta and her husband, Paolo Nicoletta, when they moved to my neighborhood in southern California about 15-years ago. I welcomed them with a sprig of mint from my garden to plant in theirs and it turned out to be a great investment, because it has returned to me gifts manifold in friendship, delicious food, and continued learning.

Assunta and Paolo come from a city near the Amalfi coast in southern Italy and, like many recent immigrants, looked to the promise of America to better their lives. They contributed toward that promise in like amount: Paolo managed an Italian restaurant as well as selling motorcycle accessories (motorcycles being his favorite hobby) and Assunta worked at Macy's, and, together from their home, they made delicious Italian desserts that they sold wholesale to restaurants. (Assunta's tiramisu is a gustatory treat to be savored!) Shortly after we became friends, they were ecstatic, because Assunta was pregnant with  their first child, and with joy in their hearts, they returned to Italy on a visit to share the good news with their families. However, once there, Assunta was diagnosed with breast cancer, and the pregnancy had to be terminated and chemotherapy and radiation begun immediately. After several months of treatment, Assunta rejoined Paolo in the States and returned to work.

Despite being diligent workers, they were, at best, only standing still financially in pricey southern California, so about a year and a half ago, they decided to move to Reno, Nevada in hopes of being able to save towards their retirement. Assunta transferred to Macy's there, and Paolo, as he had done in California, held a couple of jobs, while they both worked towards and planned for what they had long dreamt about - opening a healthy Italian fast (slow) food restaurant.

Just recently, after feeling unwell for several weeks and just before they were to open the doors to Pasta Fresca, their small restaurant, Assunta was diagnosed with stage one lymphoma and was immediately admitted to the emergency ward at Reknown Regional Medical Center in Reno, where her symptoms were stabilized and chemotherapy started. Ironically and tragically, the breast cancer regimen that she underwent in Italy, specifically radiation, although successful, may have weakened her immune system and induced this new cancer. It will sound cliched, but Assunta is one of the gentlest, kindest and most loving people I know, and that she has to face something like this again seems completely unfair. Paolo says she is fearless and in good spirits, but the doctors are holding their prognosis until treatment has progressed further.

Paolo wanted to scrap the plans to open the restaurant but Assunta insisted that he shouldn't waste all the time and money they had put in, so Paolo is running it essentially by himself on reduced hours.

(Please encourage anyone you know in the Reno-Lake Tahoe area to patronize Pasta Fresca [6135 Lakeside Dr #138Reno, NV, 89511, 775-409-3308]
I know from personal experience that they will be served delicious and healthy foods, made with Old Country love.)

Like many of us would be in the uncertainties and financial stress of today, Paolo and Assunta are hard-pressed to meet the high cost of this critical medical care, especially after investing nearly everything into the restaurant. If you wish to and are able to make a donation, in any amount, it will be greatly appreciated. Please include your name and any message you'd like to send to Assunta. All donors names will be shared with her unless you prefer to be anonymous, as well as all messages. (If you wish to contact Assunta directly or send a card, please ask for her contact info.)

If you have any questions or need further information, please contact me.

Thanks for sharing this through your social media with all whom you feel comfortable doing so.

And mille grazie.


Assunta and her husband, Paolo Nicoletta


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Fred Samia 
Topanga, CA
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