#LanaStrong: The community rallies around a Chester teen with cancer

CHESTER, Conn. (WTNH) – This hashtag sums-up a Chester teen’s attitude – #LanaStrong.  The community is rallying around the 9th grader with cancer.

It all began about a year ago when 14-year-old Lana Bargnesi felt pain in her knee and leg.

“Then our doctor said it was osteosarcoma..cancer…it was crazy from there,” she says.

“You never expect to get information like that,” says Lana’s mother, Maria Koslawy, with emotion.

“I was blown away by it. I was really sad,” says Lana.

So, her support system showed up.  Her twin sister Leah provides comic relief when she needs it the most.

“I do silly things all the time – anything we do, we can make it fun,” says Leah.

The family has been flooded with cards and when Lana undergoes chemotherapy, her friends travel to the hospital.  They call it a Visit Train.

“We have so much fun – it makes me feel normal you know?” says Lana.

Stores were selling special bracelets until they sold out.

“It has her hashtag #LanaStrong,” says Maria, holding the bracelet.  “Then on the inside it says, ‘Live, Love, Laugh’ – which is definitely our girls.”

And, Valley Regional High School students are preparing a surprise for their friend as she recovers from limb salvage surgery which took place Friday in Boston.

“It’s called a tibia transplant.  They take almost all of my bone out and put a donor bone back in,” explains Lana who is doing well after the surgery.

“From the beginning, we said this is a good teaching moment for teens, high-schoolers, everybody,” says Maria.

Kindness from the community has sustained the Bargnesis, allowing them to focus on the positive during an incredibly tough time.

“It’s nice,” says Lana.  “It’s nice that so many people care.”

Old Saybrook restaurant La Marea is holding a wine benefit dinner on February 5th.  The majority of the money raised will be donated to the Bargnesis as Lana looks towards a year-long recovery.  Click here for more information.



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