Chow Bella

Local Food Community Rallies Around Lisa Giungo as She Fights Lung Cancer

The week ended on a sad note for us here at Chow Bella, when we received word that a beloved member of the Phoenix food community has fallen ill.

Her name is Lisa Giungo, but you might know her simply as "Lisa G.," and remember her namesake CenPho restaurant, Lisa G.'s Wine Bar and Cafe, which closed on Halloween 2009 and will always be remembered for Lisa's meatballs -- listed on the menu, simply, as a "Bowl of Balls."

You can see why we are so fond of her. And so when Tracy Dempsey -- another grande dame of the local scene -- asked us to share a letter about Lisa with our readers, we said yes. It's the least we can do.

We wish you the best, Lisa.

See also: - The Joy Bus Brings Quality Meals to Cancer Patients

Dear Friend of Lisa Giungo,

Our friend Lisa needs help - a lot of help as she's recently been diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer with inoperable manifestations of the disease in many parts of her body. Since cigarettes have not been a part of Lisa's life in decades, the diagnosis was somewhat surprising especially in light of what has been a regime that includes ample exercise as well as a healthy diet for the past several years. As you can imagine, a successful prognosis relies on Lisa beating long odds through both radiation treatments and chemotherapy. The program that has been outlined by her oncologist is underway, and as is normal for her when placed in the position of an underdog, Lisa's fighting for all she's worth. While it's too early in the treatment program for its progress to be assessed, Lisa's spirit remains strong, and she's eager to kick cancer's a**!

So how can you help her in achieving this goal which will ultimately mean we'll all have more time to spend with Lisa? A wide-range of friends have stepped forward and arranged transportation to and from the seemingly unending series of doctor visits that Lisa will be making during the next several months, and she's also had many volunteers cooking meals for her in addition to receiving help from The Joy Bus which is a Valley-based, non-profit organization that helps feed cancer patients. For now, those two significant and sometimes overwhelming needs seem well met by a host of big hearted people.

However, the treatment program that is underway is the proverbial double-edged sword: while the extremely aggressive treatment path that Lisa has embarked upon seeks to take advantage of her strength and attack the disease with as many weapons as early as possible, it has resulted in Lisa being unable to work. At that, simple living expenses like rent and basic utilities are looming in the near future as challenges that could complicate at best - or at worst stymie - Lisa's efforts to survive this most significant health crisis.

In response, a special account has been set-up to facilitate cash donations and other contributions that will be directly applied to Lisa's basic living expenses. If you are in and wish to donate, please write checks to Layne Kizler and in the Memo section of the check, please write "Gift for Lisa Giungo" and mail to Layne Kizler AZ Dog Sports 4848 E. Cactus Road Scottsdale, AZ 85254

cash donations may be dropped off at Tracy Dempsey Originals 1323 W. University Drive, Tempe, AZ 85281 Please give Tracy a call/heads up at 602.376.9021

Thank you so very much from fellow friends of Lisa G,

Tracy Dempsey, chef-owner Tracy Dempsey Originals Layne Kizler, owner, AZ Dog Sports Carolyn Ellis, Arcadia Farms

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Amy Silverman is a two-time winner of the Arizona Press Club’s Journalist of the Year award. Her work has appeared on the radio show This American Life and in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Lenny Letter, and Brain, Child. She’s the co-curator of the live reading series Bar Flies, and a commentator for KJZZ, the NPR affiliate in Phoenix. Silverman is the author of the book My Heart Can’t Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love, and Down Syndrome (Woodbine House 2016). Follow her on Instagram (@amysilverman), Twitter (@amysilvermanaz), and at