Kennett mom & breast cancer survivor rides to conquer cancer

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Two-day, 150 mile bike journey – Kennett & Unionville merchants rally in support

By Kim Chiomento, Staff Writer, The Times

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Tasha Little-Verrico, a Kennett resident and breast cancer survivor, will participate in the University of Pennsylvania’s Ambramson Cancer Center’s Ride to Conquer Cancer in October, with her backers, A LITTLE Team for a CURE. She is being supported by various local businesses in the Kennett and Unionville area. Pictured here, Verrico is with her training partners, her dad Howard Little and friend Patrick Heringslack.

KENNETT — For Tasha Little-Verrico achieving victory over challenge, no matter how insurmountable it seems, is what life has repeatedly taught her.  When in October of 2012, Verrico a 41-year-old mother of two and self-described soccer mom,  was diagnosed with breast cancer she found inspiration from those closest to her.

Verrico watched her parents, the Littles, lose nearly everything when Hurricane Katrina struck. With much courage and resilience, the Littles eventually relocated to Lancaster to be near Verrico and their grandsons.  Soon after the devastating storm, their son and Verrico’s only brother Ty, was in a dangerous downward spiral; arrested and consumed by the horrible grip of addiction.  He has been sober now for more than eight years.  She adoringly describes him as “my hero.”

These tragedies, turned victories, positioned Verrico for the fight of her life.  Verrico, an avid health enthusiast and fitness instructor, like most women, was absolutely shocked when she received her breast cancer diagnosis.

Currently she is under the care of doctors from the University of Pennsylvania’s Abramson Cancer Center and Verrico says, “I had a very good experience there and continue to.  I like how closely my team of doctors works together.”

Verrico, whose passion for exercise once included cycling regularly, was driving and heard a commercial for Ambramson Cancer Center’s Ride to Conquer Cancer: October 11-12th.  Verrico describes hearing the commercial as a profound experience; seemingly like “It was speaking DIRECTLY to ME.”

The commercial was timely.  Verrico announced her A LITTLE Team for a CURE’s participation in the Ride on the monumental one year anniversary of being declared cancer free.  Verrico trains with her dad, Howard, “who is a very loving man and dedicated father,” and dear friend Patrick Heringslack, “who has always been very encouraging and supportive of me.”

Powering through the grueling physical and emotional toll of her diagnosis, mastectomy, reconstructive surgery along and current Tamoxifen protocol, combined with her family’s resilience, continues to inspire her to fight for others.

Through it all, Verrico maintains a real sense of humor and positivity.

“Tamoxifen is tough.  I feel foggy at times and wacked, I mean really WACKED!” she said.

It has impacted her body’s response to exercise, too.

“Now my body takes longer to recover.  I’m sore and really tired almost always, and I don’t nearly workout as hard as I used to.  I was a bit obsessed with exercise, to say the least, so maybe it’s a lesson in patience and to learn to relax more.”

She now describes herself as more of a weekend warrior on her bike she has lovingly nicknamed “Fernando” (after soccer great Fernando Torres.) Verrico also laughs that she “hated the color pink,” and has now come to embrace the symbolic color of breast cancer victims and survivors everywhere.

Verrico has a strong message for those battling cancer: “Have courage, learn to listen to your heart, and know you’re not alone.  Survivors empower one another to live courageously in the NOW.”

She would like to thank the following Kennett-area merchant community members for donating 10% of their sales September 12 – 13th to Team LITTLE:  Ashley Austin, Chantilly Blue, and Bedbugzz (all confirmed so far) and send a special thanks Nicholas Anthony Salon & Day Spa which has also helped her team raise money.

To date, “A LITTLE Team for a CURE” has raised $7,136 of their $8,000 goal.  You can help support Tasha’s efforts by shopping at the confirmed Kennett merchants September 12 – 13th, -or- by donating directly to her team by clicking on the link: http://ph14.ridetovictory.org/site/TR/Events/2014Philadelphia?px=1192262&pg=personal&fr_id=1080.

For more information on Penn Abramson’s Ride to Conquer Cancer visit: Ridetovictory.org

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Tags: A LITTLE Team for a CURE, Ride to Conquer Cancer, Tasha Little-Verrico, University of Pennsylvania’s Abramson Cancer Center

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