Notre Dame player's family celebrates five years cancer free at - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Notre Dame player's family celebrates five years cancer free at tailgate

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The rain held off so tailgaters had a sunny afternoon before the game, and one tailgate was pretty special Saturday.

Linebacker Carlo Calabrese's family was celebrating his mom being cancer free for five years.

Pink hats, pink bags, even pink pants, the Notre Dame blue and gold was dotted with pink at the Calabrese family tailgate.

"Today we are celebrating my five year anniversary cancer free," says Annie Calabrese, who was diagnosed with breast cancer when her son was being recruited to play football for Notre Dame.

"I was diagnosed on a yearly mammography," says Annie Calabrese. She adds, "Football has helped get us through this cause it was always a diversion as to what I was doing as far as the cancer was concerned, the chemotherapy.  I mean I'd do chemo, I'd go to a game, I'd forget I had cancer for a little while."

Similar to the way her son's team defeats opponents on the football field, Annie beat breast cancer.

"We're just elated to have her here, healthy, beautiful, full of life," says Carlo Calabrese.

To commemorate Annie's life being cancer free for five years the family held a celebratory tailgate.

Izzy the pink fire truck stood nearby as friends and family, who traveled from New Jersey, celebrated Annie.

"If I really thought about it I'd probably cry all day.  I think it's just awesome they took the time out to come here," says Annie Calabrese.

But they say there's no where else they would have been.

"Proud of Annie for fighting and becoming the healthy woman she is today," says family friend, Michael Canfora.

It's been a journey for the Calabrese family but it's made them all stronger.

"I grew a lot seeing what she went through.  I know I became a stronger person seeing her go through it with a smile on her face everyday," says Annie's daughter Alyssa Calabrese.

Now they hope they can help others going through the same thing.

"We just hope in some way we can bring some awareness to breast cancer and keep the funds coming in," says Annie Calabrese.

The Calabrese family asks that anyone who wants to help out donate to the Clay Fire Pink Ribbon Fund.

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