Maria Fundora’s family has always displayed a fighting spirit.
Her father was so determined to come to America in the 1960s that he risked making the trip from Cuba in a small motorboat with three other men and only the clothes on his back.
Reunited with his family four years later, he and his wife put noses to the grindstone, proving to themselves and their only child that penniless immigrants could achieve the American dream of success.
And when her mother lost her short, painful battle with pancreatic cancer, Maria — longtime owner of Alpharetta’s Casa Nuova Italian restaurant — turned her love for her mother and her heartbreak into action: waging war against one of the deadliest of all cancers.
Since 2017, Maria has raised $3.2 million — often over a plate of pasta — to fight pancreatic cancer, the third-leading cause of cancer death in America, behind lung and colorectal cancers.