Nizhoni Health Systems

Nizhoni Health Employee Spotlight: Cancer survivor raises funds and support for Breast Cancer Awareness month

Did you know that on average 12 percent (that’s one in eight) women in the United States will develop breast cancer in their lifetime? As a breast cancer survivor and employee in the health care field, Debbie Luongo is committed to lowering that stat, with the goal of one day wiping it out completely.

In August 2012, Debbie, who has worked as an Intake Coordinator with Nizhoni Health for the last five years, felt swelling underneath her arm while on vacation celebrating her twin daughters’ graduation. She thought she’d pulled a muscle and made an appointment with her doctor. Six months later, after a number of appointment and a biopsy, Debbie was diagnosed with breast cancer. After experiencing a wide range of emotions – namely shock – she put the fear aside and knew she would need to rely on two more important emotions to keep moving forward – hope and a positive attitude. Through the support of her family and team of caregivers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Debbie is now six years cancer free and a survivor in every sense of the word.

Throughout her time spent in hospitals, receiving chemotherapy treatment and with friends who were and are coping with different cancer diagnoses, Debbie learned there is sunshine after the rain – and found that knowing others experienced the same thing and survived, provides more support than anyone anticipates. This is why Debbie was compelled to start raising money for breast cancer research and awareness. Through the constant support of her husband, children, sister, parent and the friends she’s made along the way, Debbie has raised more than $50,000 to support cancer research!

Throughout her years raising money for and donating her time to this important cause, Debbie has found that almost everyone she meets has a connection to cancer in some way. Whether Debbie is spending time at Hope Lodge cooking meals for people and their families going through cancer treatment or supporting friends undergoing chemotherapy, Debbie shares, “I want people to know they’re not going through it alone. I want to be an example and most importantly, I want to provide hope in every way I can.”

Debbie’s next fundraiser is on Thursday, October 5, 2017 at John Brewers in Malden from 5-10 p.m., and all are welcome to join!

The “Nizhoni Health Employee Spotlight” is a series in which we highlight the extraordinary work and service our employees engage in outside of Nizhoni Health. We care deeply about our employees and causes that impact your lives both in and outside of the office. If you or someone you know would like to share their story, please reach out to social(at)