Fighting Stage 4 Cancer for Crystal and Charities

Hello everyone,

My name is Matthew, a close friend and colleague of Crystal's (and fellow cancer survivor). She is a devoted wife and mother to two beautiful young daughters, who has been battling a recurrence of Stage 4 colon cancer. 

Thank you for taking the time to visit my GoFundMe page. I hope you will help me on my journey to financially help Crystal and her family, as well as support charitable causes we are passionate about that focus on initial screenings of cancers that often are not detected in their early stages. Even as she battles her illness, she is all about promoting awareness, so that others can hopefully be spared the suffering she has endured.

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Before sharing our story, let me first share how funds are allocated.  To honor Crystal's tireless dedication to helping others while also easing her financial burden, all money raised will be distributed three ways:

1) 50% will be donated to the Colon Cancer Coalition (our official sponsor), in Crystal’s name. Established in 2004, this is a nonprofit organization that she holds very dear and fiercely advocates for. It has various missions including promoting greater awareness, improving screening rates, providing financial support, and sponsoring fundraising events. For more information, please visit 
donate.coloncancercoalition.org/crystalsshoes

2) 35% will be donated directly to Crystal and her family, to help cover ongoing medical and other living expenses. 

3) As a means of embracing Crystal’s spirit of advocacy, 15% will be donated to the Testicular Cancer Awareness Foundation, in both of our names. Established in 2009, this nonprofit organization specializes in promoting awareness among young men of the importance of early screenings and detection, and provides financial assistance to survivors and their families. For more information, please visit www.testicularcancerawarenessfoundation.org. If you would like to learn more about how Crystal’s mission has inspired me to advocate, you may also visit https://www.testicularcancerawarenessfoundation.org/blog/matthew-jalazo-tc-survivor-powerwalking-100-miles-in-another-cancer-survivors-shoes*

Now... here is our story.  

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I first met Crystal years ago at work, where we had offices next to each other. She was one of my favorite coworkers, not just there but throughout the course of my twenty-year career. I was immediately struck by her gentle spirit, warmth, intelligence and positive energy. When we had breaks, we would frequently touch base to say hello and catch up, share stories or support each other.

I don’t ever recall seeing Crystal without a smile. If she didn’t already have one on her face, she would naturally and quickly offer one. She was always an absolute pleasure to be around, as she was cherished by others she worked with and made each day brighter.

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On the twenty-year anniversary of my testicular cancer diagnosis, Crystal experienced a recurrence of her Stage 4 colon cancer. Although we had stopped working together years earlier, our having had less contact did not reduce my shock when she told me what happened several months ago.  Rather, I was filled with regret, over not having made more efforts to stay in touch. We have since reconnected and have become even closer friends, for which I am very grateful. She remains just as I knew her, even while facing this devastating illness. Her raw honesty, courage, emotional transparency and continued advocacy (both for other survivors and cancer awareness) has been nothing short of inspirational. She is a true warrior, hero and role model. 

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Crystal has battled Stage 4 colon cancer for over two years. In that time, she has undergone numerous rounds of chemotherapy and multiple surgeries, experienced post-surgical septic shock, and spent months in the hospital as a result.  To make matters even harder, this occurred during the coronavirus pandemic, which left her potentially vulnerable to complications as an immunocompromised patient. In recent months, she has completed more treatment and is presently in remission. 

Having endured so much pain and uncertainty with such grace, all I can say is that Crystal is one of the bravest and emotionally strongest people I have ever known in my life.   Watching how fiercely dedicated Crystal has been in continuing to share her cancer story, even while receiving chemotherapy and experiencing its side effects... has also inspired me.  I have been, and remain, awestruck by her heroism, selflessness, and relentless desire to advocate for others... at a time when she has every reason in the world to be totally focused on herself.  Realizing all of this, I knew one thing for certain... that I was going to stand by her side every step of the way, and do everything in my power to support her.  

I really do not know if I could ever walk a mile in Crystal’s shoes, having to endure such grueling physical and emotional stress on a daily basis.   Instead, as a means of paying homage to her (and other cancer warriors like her)... not just as her friend, but as her advocate... I attempted to do the next best thing... and that was to walk as far as I possibly can in my own.  



In that spirit, I participated in the "Daytona 100” (www.daytona100ultra.com), an ultramarathon, on Saturday, December 4. I was a cross-country runner throughout my teenage years and completed a marathon in my twenties, but never attempted longer distances.

My goal was to complete 100 miles in a single day.  I was able to complete 54 before I was forced to stop, as I was unable to locate my needed gear at the checkpoint (which contained food, water and other valuable supplies to get me to the 80-mile checkpoint).  Nevertheless, 54 miles was a personal best!   

We were also very fortunate that local news (i.e., ,an ABC and NBC affiliate in Jacksonville, where the ultramarathon began) picked up our story, and put together a piece that played on their various programs that weekend.  You can watch it by typing this into the search engine: 

Man attempts 100-mile ultramarathon to raise awareness for cancer | firstcoastnews.com

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Please, please, please share this GoFundMe page with everyone you know, so we can collectively continue to help and support Crystal. As she has dedicated her life to caring for others, even still, I am humbly asking anyone reading this... family, friends, colleagues, even strangers... to please also consider donating whatever you can, to honor everything she continues to fight for and reduce some of her financial hardships. Ultimately, our hope is that this fundraising effort will translate into a far bigger movement, one that can help a great number of people and their families avoid similar pain.

As they say, ‘it takes a village’... let’s all be that village for Crystal, and what she stands for. 

Thank you for supporting Crystal on her road to recovery, as well as our joint mission of advocacy, friendship and hope.  Please stay safe!
  • Cynthia Mosca 
    • $100 
    • 19 hrs
  • Brittney Capodilupo 
    • $20 
    • 20 hrs
  • Judith Zaroff 
    • $119 
    • 1 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 2 d
  • Kelly Moss 
    • $20 
    • 2 d
See all

Organizer

Matthew Jalazo 
Organizer
Fort Lauderdale, FL
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