#StaciStrong, Banks, Braves

Banks community rallies around Rizzo family

The Banks Middle School, where Nick Rizzo works. Photo: Chas Hundley

BANKS – After years of fighting breast cancer, Staci Rizzo’s family says that her battle has reached its final stage.

And the Banks community has rallied around the family—recently, and in the past few years—in a big way.

A GoFundMe fundraising campaign to raise funds for Staci’s palliative and hospice care was established by Amy Nelson.

Now 15 days in, at least 280 people (as of publishing time of this article) have donated $37,000 to support the family and help pay for medical bills, time off work for Nick, and other expenses that will come up. It’s been shared on social media more than a thousand times.

Local businesses, including Banks-area BCF Crossfit, and the Forest Grove Dutch Bros., have held fundraisers to benefit the family. BCF Crossfit raised more than $7,000 at a Row-A-Thon on February 18, and $1 from all large drinks at the Forest Grove Dutch Bros. was donated to the Rizzo family on the same day.

The family, well-known in the Banks community, have been fighting Staci’s cancer since 2009 when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer. After chemotherapy and surgery, it went into remission, according to Nick Rizzo, Staci’s husband.

It returned in 2013, spreading to her brain, lungs, liver, abdomen, and multiple spots in her bones. 

Staci worked as an advertising sales executive for the Oregonian, before leaving her position there in 2013 to fight her returning cancer; her husband, Nick, works for the Banks School District, teaching physical education at the Banks Middle School. He’s been with the district for 19 years.

They have two children, 14 and 11, both attending Banks schools since kindergarten.

In an email to the Banks Post, Nick wanted to thank the Banks community for their support.

“I know we sound like a broken record here, but we just want to thank everyone in our community, including our family and friends for all the support they have given us recently and over the years.”

“I personally feel blessed to be able to spend time at home with Staci and this would not be possible without the community. So many people have stepped up and donated money, meals, teachers have donated personal days, BCF CrossFit, Forest Grove Dutch Bros., family has helped around the house as well as friends. It’s been amazing.”

“This battle for Staci has been trying on her and our family. We have been told many times over the years that she had a few months to live, yet she continues to keep fighting. Although we have moved her to Palliative/Hospice care, she will continue to fight.”

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Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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