Sam Giambattista is one tough guy.
He credits his dad for that. And his football coach from years back when he played both ways for Bishop Duffy.
With his dad, Serofino, also known as Sam, for whom he is named, he could never get away with anything. Like when he was 15, smoking at the skating rink, and his dad showed up there. His coach, Rich Condino, seemed to have it out for him too, even though Sam was a team captain.
Back then, he hated that they were so hard on him. But, today, he’s grateful his old man was a tough guy. And that his coach made him run four laps when everybody else only had to run two. Now it all makes sense to Sam.
These days Sam is battling lung cancer. And that toughness sure comes in handy.
”Without my dad, for sure, and my coach, without them two, I don’t think I would have been able to fight the way I fought,” Sam told me on the phone earlier this week.
And yet, I think the toughest person in Sam’s life is his wife of eight years, Patricia Giambattista.
Tricia has been sending me a relentless stream of emails for months now. Infused with a passion for battling the disease that has her husband in its grip, she’s been doing all she can to raise awareness about lung cancer and raise money to beat it.
A few weeks ago, she wrote me to say she and Sam had raised about $1,400 and, as such, Sam was going to try to qualify to ride in the opening ceremonies of the Ride for Roswell Friday.
I thought that would be a pretty good story. The ride to the opening ceremonies, in preparation for the big event on Saturday, is called the peloton, and it begins at the acclaimed cancer hospital in the heart of Buffalo’s medical corridor.