Dots of pink infiltrated the sea of red at the University of Phoenix Stadium Sunday as breast cancer survivor Laura Fial sang the National Anthem before the Cardinals took on the Giants.
“I feel like music had been a journey for me, and cancer has been a gift,’‘ Fial, 50, said after she kicked off the Cardinals’ support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The professional singer has survived breast cancer twice and is eight years cancer free.
“I felt like the world was ending when I was first diagnosed,” she said. “My husband left me, I was fired from my job and no one else in my family had ever had breast cancer. I just felt like, why me?”
It took Fial a while to come to terms with cancer as a single, unemployed mother. “I had to learn to reach out to people,” she said. “I was never the type to ask for help before.”
But she survived, and a year after being declared cancer free for the first time, she created the Sing 4 Life Breast Cancer Foundation of Arizona.
Fial is the founder and president. She said, “We have taken over 100 women and helped them through song. We help with treatment, recovery and provide positive energy.”
Sing 4 Life will celebrate its 10-year anniversary at the end of the year.
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month,
“When I saw Larry Fitzgerald in his pink sneakers, I wanted to laugh and to cry. He’s bringing so much attention and awareness to breast cancer,” Fial said. “It takes a real man to wear pink, and I really want to say thank you to him and give him a big hug.”
Against the Giants, Fitzgerald made eight receptions, raising $8,000 for the American Cancer Society.
“I had to think about who I would support before I came to the game today,’’ Fial said. “I grew up with the Giants in New Jersey, but I’m wearing red with my pink today, even though they clash.”
She wore a sequined, red shirt in support of the Cardinals with her bright pink nail polish and pink ribbons.
Fial believes in the importance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, “Women who are fighting know they can survive when they see survivors.”
All the breast cancer survivors took to the field during halftime, a visible reminder that there is life after cancer.
“The more survivors women see, the more they will heal inside and out.[Breast Cancer Awareness Month] is the time to educate women about breast cancer. We need to be diligent and get mammograms. So many people are neglectful, but October can help them survive,” Fial said.
Fial’s daughter, Heather, had more trouble dealing with her mother’s breast cancer than Fial did. “When I was diagnosed for the second time, she said, ‘I thought you already got rid of it.’ It was hard, as a mother, to deal with that.”
Heather, now a freshmen in law school at Arizona State University, raised money for breast cancer awareness through her sorority.
Fial’s fiance, Tim Robertson, accompanied her to the game. They’d been dating for a year when she was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time. “Tim was by my side the entire time, he was my best friend, my nurse and my cheerleader,” she said.
Breast cancer changed Fial, she believes, for the better. “Everyday is special now,” she said. “I used to be so type-A, now I take life a lot more slowly. I don’t take anything for granted anymore.”