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Health: Facing cancer as a couple

Patt Cianciullo and Maggie Lopez

Maggie Lopez and Patt Cianciullo have been partners for six years and are married in Cianciullo’s home state of Connecticut. Now living in Atlanta, they have spent the last two years coping with cancer through faith, hope and humor.

Cianciullo was no stranger to caring for a cancer patient when Lopez was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2010.

“Patt was with her one and only other partner for 25 years and for the last 12 years of her life, she battled the highest and rarest form of ovarian cancer. …  Patt’s experience from that was a tremendous help to me when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer,” Lopez said.

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Maggie Lopez: Activism, art and surviving ‘the C word’

Maggie Lopez on battling cancer and activism

Maggie Lopez, 51, moved to the U.S. as a child with her family as political refugees on one of the Pan Am freedom flights during the Castro revolution. She now has a successful art business in Atlanta and likes to pay it forward through many charity works. She recently underwent surgery for breast cancer and is continuing her recovery process.

GA Voice: What’s Atlanta best nightspot — past or present?

Maggie Lopez: Atlanta’s best nightspot is and has always been... Atlanta itself. Our people create the vibe. It’s really not about light fixtures or banquettes. Certain house parties here are more legendary than any nightclub.

You are involved in many nonprofits, especially For the Kid In All of Us. Why is this organization so important to you?

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Guest editorial: You can provide a hand to hold this holiday

Within minutes of setting foot in the United States, I was the recipient of a toy drive. It was Dec. 21 and the American Red Cross’ presence was already on the tarmac at Miami International Airport, welcoming the hundreds of Cuban refugees who were arriving daily on the Pan Am Freedom Flights.

It had already been quite a morning, having left behind everything the Castro regime forbade our family to take with us, save our dignity. Ever grateful for receiving the care package containing the limited basic necessities we would need for an uncertain future, the children also received toys; after all, it was Christmas.

At the time, unimaginable to us, Christmas would be removed from the Cuban calendar in 1969 when Fidel Castro decided it was interfering with the sugar harvest festival — and having declared it an Atheist country in 1962, all public displays of Christmas and Hanukkah would be banned by then.