Love For Theresa During Cancer Treatment

For: Theresa Braccio
Boston, MA
Organizer: Theresa's Friend's and Loves Ones
Love For Theresa During Cancer Treatment (Theresa Braccio)
$40,470
of $45,000 goal
89% Complete
Raised by 347 donors

The Story

To the family, friends, colleagues and benevolent strangers of Theresa,


On July 20th, 2017, Theresa was diagnosed with a high grade invasive cervical cancer. After weeks of being in and out of four different hospitals across the Northeast, Theresa learned that she will have to undergo surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy in order to eradicate the cancer.  


Theresa's response to the diagnosis has been inspiring. There is a serenity, a toughness, and a trusting optimism in her efforts to integrate the diagnosis and to begin the healing process. She is committed to doing everything she can to help heal herself. 


There have been a lot of hard days filled with heartbreak. But Theresa is still dancing and smiling and making everyone laugh. She continues to be the strong, bright light that we all know and love. 


Three years ago Theresa married the love of her life, Dan Kelly, and the couple was planning to begin a family this year. For the past several months Theresa has anticipated the joy of being pregnant and having babies. She spreads her arms out wide every day to mime an embrace of her little babies. This is how excited she has been to start a family.


But, as a consequence of the radiation treatment, Theresa will be unable to carry a pregnancy. 


Before the radiation begins Theresa will undergo IVF and they’ll freeze their beautiful little embryos.  Once the dust settles, they'll begin to look for a generous and loving gestational carrier to help make their dreams come true. 


•••


As you can imagine the whole experience has been a devastating shock to her family; her husband Dan, her parents, her sisters, brother, in laws and extended family. There is the emotional weight of it. And then there are the never-ending logistical obstacles.


Theresa is facing a very long road ahead. She will get through it because of who she is and how well she is supported. 


Theresa is the kind of person who is always giving back to others. After completing her degree in social work, Theresa moved to Seattle, WA with her husband so that they could be close to Dan's family as his mother battled advanced Alzheimer's disease. While in Seattle, Theresa worked for the non-profit organization, Gilda's Club, where she provided social work services to families affected by cancer. Now is our chance to be there for Theresa. 


Donations, hugs, cards, prayers, and lots of loving healing energy are all warmly encouraged. 


All funds raised will be used to pay for Theresa's medical care and to help with daily living expenses associated with cancer treatment. 


Your love and support means the world to Theresa and Dan. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!



Fundraiser Updates

Posted on January 17, 2018

Posted on January 17, 2018

“When I woke up this morning I didn’t feel fear."


Those were Theresa's first words this morning when she rose out of the best sleep that any of us have gotten in months. 


Yesterday we got the news that Theresa’s three-month pet scan did not show any evidence of cancer. 


First the doctors told us that “the scan looked better.” Sometimes you have to squeeze doctors like lemons to get the juice out. After a handful of questions they conceded that the scan looked “exactly how they hoped it would look.” 


Theresa jumped out of her seat, hugged both doctors, and then did a little dance (a frenzied gyration of the hips). Dan immediately started crying (surprise!). Susan & Joe exhaled the relief of a thousand swollen hearts.


The feeling today is not the pure joy of a kid on the first day of summer break. It’s more layered than that. 


There was so much fear before. And now the fear is gone. Where the fear was there’s just a blank canvas now. We can decorate however we like. 


Then there’s all the emotional equipment we carried to try to feel okay about life for the last 7 months. Most of the equipment feels useless now. Like a closet full of clothes that no longer fit. But the experience changed us fundamentally as people. There are tools we’ve picked up that we’ll carry with us forever. 


It’ll take time to redecorate the open spaces in our days and to shed all the habits we formed for a way of life we no longer need to live. 


All the little ways that our lives have changed will trickle in over the next few weeks. 


This morning it was waking without fear. A great place to start. 


•••


To everyone in this community of friends, family and benevolent strangers,

Please know that you have given us an invaluable gift: 


Your generosity gave us peace of mind


The expenses incurred on account of the disease could have caused a staggering anxiety. But they didn’t. 


Because of this fund we were able to access all the resources that Theresa needed in order to heal. And to arrive at this day today feeling healthy, fearless, grateful and eager to enjoy the rest of this sweet life. 


Love,

Us


Posted on November 3, 2017

Posted on November 3, 2017

And Then It Was Over


It’s difficult to describe the experience of treatment being over. It’s a complicated elixir of relief, hope, fear, joy, frustration, anger and confusion. 


The doctors don’t hand you a certificate at the end that says you’re disease free. There is no clarity. There is no closure. No cinematic catharsis.


Our dismount from the hospital was more of an escape than a peaceful walk into the rest of our lives. 


We will not have a definitive verdict until Theresa goes back and does a Pet Scan in three months. 


So every day we just try to wake up and choose hope. We choose to trust the treatment. And we try to get back to enjoying small delights. 


The other day Theresa said, “All I’ve been doing is fighting all the time. Now I have to go back to just living.” 


That's the transition that we’re trying to make and it’s going well. Theresa is gaining strength and vitality everyday. 


The color is back in her little apple cheeks. The spiciness is back in her voice. She was caught singing and dancing to Tina Turner in her jammies yesterday morning. All the planets are returning to orbit. 


Her recovery is going to take time. We’ve been told it will be a year before she feels “normal” again. I wouldn’t be surprised if Theresa exceeds those expectations. She’s going to be aggressive about restoring and maintaining her health. There is no Brazilian flower or Mongolian Mushroom that will not be considered in her search for the right mixture of herbs and tonics to balance her body. If anybody has a personal favorite botanical supplement please don’t hesitate to share it. 


•••


If we fly way up above everything and look down and back at this whole experience we see all of Theresa’s suffering. But the suffering looks small next to the enormous crowd of support. Hundreds of people have shown us thousands of kindnesses. The effort, energy and generosity that people have committed to us makes us weep. We feel grateful. We also feel amazed. There is more love and support in our world than we ever could have realized. And the realization is empowering. 


Thank you. So much. Everyone. Thank you. 

Love,

Us


Posted on October 14, 2017

Posted on October 14, 2017

The Treatment Is Working

Theresa's tumor has shrunk considerably. 

What this means is that the Treatment Plan is working exactly as the doctors hoped that it would. What that also means is that the doctor says the word 'shrinkage' a lot. Which Dan enjoys. 

Theresa has rounded the treatment bend and is sprinting towards the finish line like a young Carl Lewis. 

• The 5 weeks of chemo are over

• The 5 weeks of Beam Therapy Radiation are over

It was one thing to hear about the side effects of the treatment. It was a whole 'nother thing to endure them. Theresa endured with a lot of love and support from her mother (who dropped everything to move in with Theresa & Dan) and with a little help from Netflix, Pedialite and cozy blankets sent from friends and family. 

This last chapter involves 5 treatments of Brachy Therapy which is a high dose of radiation aimed directly at the tumor. She gets to take an artificial anesthesia nap for each one of these procedures which can make the whole experience feel kind of big and scary. But the side effects are much more manageable than they had been with the Beam Radiation. 

So the worst is officially behind us. 

It is not enough to just say Thank You to all of you. I don't know what could ever be enough to repay the kindness and the generosity that we have been shown from soooo many people. 

We are enormously grateful. 

And we are enormously hopeful that this will all be over soon. 

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