Toni Contino

Toni Contino

Long Island Mom Faces Breast Cancer, Son's Brain Surgery

February 10, 2019 - 5:18 pm

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. (WCBS 880) – Last month, a Long Island mother found out over the span of just days that she has breast cancer and that her son needed brain surgery. Now she’s looking to make sure something good comes out of the compounding ordeals.

The Earth-shattering calls came within just a few days of one another early in January.

First, Toni Contino was told to go back for a follow-up mammogram.

“I got the news that I had breast cancer,” she said.

It was news she says she could deal with.

“I was like, ‘Okay I’m strong, I can handle this,’” she told WCBS 880's Steve Burns.

But then, after her college-aged son went in for an exam following a possible concussion, she got the second dose of difficult news.

“Got the phone call, and she said, ‘You need to discuss what’s going on with your son. He’s going to need brain surgery.’”

Her 19-year-old son Sam has a condition known as Chiari malformation, where brain tissue leaks into the spinal canal.

“And at that point, everything just stopped,” Contino said. “It was like I’m in this tunnel.”

The medical bills will no doubt be significant. Contino says her double mastectomy is coming up this week followed by her son’s brain surgery in May.

A GoFundMe page has been set up, and a family friend, Matt Duffy, has decided to go even further, pledging to run 21 races to help raise money for the two.

Contino maintains there’s a reason God is challenging them.  

“He wants us to get the awareness out there, and he wants us to see there’s beautiful people out in the world,” she said.

The GoFundMe had raised nearly $30,000 of its $150,000 goal Sunday night.