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Friendly Resurrection School Crossing Guard’s Open Letter to Rye

Rich Dowgiallo’s public thank you to the Rye community for all their support in his wife's ongoing battle with cancer.

The word support means many things, among them: to endure bravely, to aid or help, to uphold or serve as a foundation, and to keep from fainting, yielding, or losing courage.  The City of Rye doesn’t just support, but goes above and beyond the call of duty. 

Yesterday morning, Resurrection Elementary School crossing guard Rich Dowgiallo was at Valhalla’s Westchester County Medical Center with his wife, Joan, who is fighting against stage 3b lung cancer and recently had her leg amputated.

He was so overwhelmed by the loving support of his local town, he couldn’t contain his tears.

“I want this to be an open letter to Rye to thank everybody. Everyone has been so kind throughout this ordeal. I have people come by my post daily and ask me about my wife. I am not going to name any names because if I do I will forget somebody. Every dog that comes by the post will get a biscuit. I love all of the children from Resurrection and I’ve gotten more hugs than you can even imagine,” said Dowgiallo.

Joan Dowgiallo, 56, has been in the hospital for about 12 weeks and is doing well. The chemotherapy and radiation treatment and healing process is easier to endure with great physicians and staffing filled with love and compassion.

“Joan is a fighter, a woman of strength and courage. If you know anyone who has been in surgery you can tell by the face of the doctor when they come in to speak with you. The treatment here is excellent. It’s a caring center and a teaching hospital. Our physician came in the hospital room beaming of joy and hope almost like the same type you have for your newborn child,” said Rich.

When trials and tribulations come, they can put a wear on a relationship.  For Rich and Joan Dowgiallo, who have been married for 26 years, their faith in God has brought them closer together as they face cancer head-on. He said, “she’s my strength.”

“My faith also means a lot to me. I try to get to church every day and I have a lot of support from Resurrection. It’s good to know that those people are there for me and praying me and my family through. It’s nice to have that kind of support and I want to thank everyone for all of their thoughts, prayers, and encouragement,” said Dowgiallo.

Joan has a long journey ahead. After the hospital stay comes rehabilitation treatment.  

“The Rye Police Department has supplied me with a wheelchair and my son-in-law is coming over to put in a second set of banisters in the house. We are getting ready for her to come home soon,” stated Dowgiallo.

With the great continued support of the Rye community, Dowgiallo is optimistic and looks forward to having his precious wife home.

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