Theresa Rozul Knowles is a beloved poet, teacher, wife and friend. She is amaranthine. She radiates the most positive, loving, and creative energy you can imagine. You can simply walk past her on the street and know her. She is generous with all that she has and all that she is. Theresa is a bright light in what can be a rather dark world. And now, she needs you.
This February, just a few days after her 30th birthday, Theresa was diagnosed with Stage 3C Ovarian Cancer and underwent a major surgery to remove one ovary, part of her second ovary, and masses from other areas in her abdomen. At the time this is written, Theresa is recovering from surgery and preparing for treatment.
It turns out, she has a rare form of Low Grade Ovarian Cancer that only impacts 9% of women with ovarian cancer. At this time, there isn't a cure. The best they can do at the moment is hormone treatment for the rest of her life. Plus, she has to undergo another major surgery in April.
She has also had to have a full hysterectomy. This is particularly difficult as Theresa and her husband, Jimmy, have always dreamed of having children but wanted to wait until Theresa was in her 30s. Needless to say, this is another area of their lives has drastically changed.
Just over two years ago, Theresa lost her mother to Pancreatic Cancer and has been a donor and advocate for Pancreatic Cancer Action Network through the PCAN’s PurpleStride team, Team Esterlita Rozul’s Purple Roses
See what we mean about life not being fair?! Well, the cards have been dealt and we will handle it the way Theresa has always handled everything- with vibrant tenacity and an exuberant spirit. Together, we will be her cancer-kicking ninjas.
Although Theresa currently has health insurance, the cost of her medical bills and the financial burden of the work she will miss through her recovery are adding up. We are asking for contributions to help with these medical bills so Theresa can focus on fighting for her life.
Anything you can contribute will be meaningful to Theresa. Thank you for your help in supporting one of the world's greatest human beings through the most difficult time in her life. Seriously, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you.
Want to know more about Theresa?
Theresa grew up in Memphis surrounded by music, theatre, and Filipino coconut desserts. She attended Bolton High School, had a scholarship to study in Italy, and graduated Cum Laude from the University of Memphis. On December 5th 2013, Theresa’s mother, well-known nurse and educational/health advocate, Esterlita Rozul Martin, passed away after a hard-fought battle with Pancreatic Cancer. When her mom passed, Theresa had a donation made in her mother’s honor to the Memphis Fil-Am Youth Community. Her mother was once the president of the Filipino organization, Fil-Am Memphis and not only served as their president, but she would also sew all the dance costumes for the Fil-Am youth, so to preserve the heritage of the Philippines’ artistic expressions for the next generation.
Theresa currently lives in Aurora, Colorado with her love of ten years, Jimmy Catchings, and their daughter, AlleyDogCat. She has been working the past three years with children in special education. Theresa has been within education for nine years, but her journey to the classroom began by being selected as part of the 11% out of over 50,000 to be a part of the Teach for America mission to end educational inequities. After her first year at the Denver School of Science and Technology, she was picked to be featured in the DSST’s network culture book. Each year, DSST makes a culture book that highlights one person from each DSST school. In just one year, she had made that big of an impact to represent the DSST Knights. What did she do that first year? Well, she piloted a role the network never had before as their Inclusion Coordinator to launch the inclusion program for the first time DSST had students from the Autism center in the general education classroom. And, she did this: Neuroscience Club, Spoken Word Club, P.A.L. Club Facilitator (Peer Advisory Leaders: social skills building through play for students with Autism), Tri-Three Culture Committee Lead, and Compact Blue Inclusion Group.
This is her second year at DSST, and her role changed at her school to be their Special Education Coordinator. Again, in a such a short time in a new role, she has garnered so much love from the community that this is what they have done in a month’s time to support Theresa:
Staff, students, and families have reached out through cards, texts, flowers, visits, and meals about how much they miss her and about how they want to help her. Even when the school thought that she was just going to be out for two weeks for what everyone was hoping was a benign biopsy, her coworkers chipped in $415.00 for organic food and meals to be delivered to her during recovery. The PTA at her school was doing the school’s yearly fundraiser, and one of prizes was a week’s vacation in Keystone, CO. All the teachers wrote Theresa’s name instead of their own. When her name was not drawn, the parents of the school heard later on about what the teachers were trying to do for Theresa. The parents all pitched in for her to have a vacation and to cover a home cleaning service. Many people are eagerly waiting to hear that Mrs. Knowles is healed and back with the DSST community.
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