Thank you for taking a moment to view the Charlene Ciuffo-Fuoco Fundraising Page. Charlene is the strongest woman I know, but Charlene and her family need your help.
Charlene is the one of the most caring, loving, and strongest women you will ever meet. She spent many years, as a single mother, providing for her two loving children, Elek, who is 16, and Coral, who is 11.
Elek was diagnosed with Down syndrome , while Charlene was pregnant, and, since then, Charlene has been an advocate for her son and other Down syndrome children. She has devoted much of her time to locating programs and services to help to Elek mature into a fine young man. Despite working full-time to support her young family, Charlene has participated in many fundraisers, including the “Buddy Walk,” and she annually donates her time and money to the Special Olympics.
In 2010, Charlene married Daniel Fuoco, of Marshfield, where they now make their home. Sadly, just three months after their honeymoon, tragedy struck when Charlene was diagnosed with advanced stage 3C ovarian cancer , which has a mere 25% survival rate. Needless to say, Charlene’s first battle with cancer was incredibly difficult. Despite these difficulties, Charlene and Danny continued to work hard at raising their family and paying their ever increasing bills. After major surgery and battling the debilitating effects of chemotherapy, Charlene bravely fought her cancer into remission, in late 2011.
Charlene had a new outlook on life and decided to go back to school for massage therapy. During Charlene’s first battle with cancer, she came to realize how much the daily stressors of life can impact an individual’s overall health and she wanted to help others in managing their stress and improving the quality of their lives. Charlene also relied on her faith to help her get through her first battle with cancer and, because of the dire prognosis she received from her doctors, she considered it a miracle when the cancer went into remission. As such, once Charlene was back on her feet, she decided to go back to teaching Catholic education at her local church, St. Ann’s by the Sea, which she still continues to do to this day.
Even though Charlene and Danny had health insurance and savings, Charlene’s first battle with cancer put them tens-of-thousands of dollars in debt and, to this day, Danny and Charlene continue to make hefty monthly payments to pay down these medical bills. Despite the burden and stress of their debt from cancer, Charlene and Danny were so happy and thankful that Charlene’s cancer was in remission, they never really mentioned the debt they amassed to their family or friends. They considered this “their problem” and “their debt” and did not want to trouble anyone else with their financial burdens. Danny took on more hours at his job and, after massage school, Charlene immediately went back to full-time work to help meet all of their financial obligations, but at least they had their lives back . . . . or did they? Unfortunately, this is not the end of their story.
This spring, Charlene and Danny were crushed when they were informed by Charlene’s doctors that her cancer has returned and has now spread to her lungs, stomach, and liver. Charlene now faces, at least, another 10 months of chemotherapy. Just as this loving family began to see the small light at the end of the financial tunnel, they will once again be hit with the horrific hardships of countless more medical bills, not to mention all of the unpaid days off from work, while going to doctor appointments and for treatments. Charlene and Danny have been unable to build up any substantial savings, while paying down the colossal debt incurred from Charlene’s first battle with cancer and, despite the fact that they both work full-time jobs and have decent health insurance, they will inevitably go tens-of-thousands of dollars in more debt! Although there is a long road ahead, Charlene and Danny are, once again, relying on their faith and the support of their families and friends to help them through this difficult time. Having lived through this all once before, they remain positive in thought and resolute in their conviction that Charlene will win this battle for the second time.
Please help this family, as they fight this vicious disease for the second, and hopefully the last, time.
Krzystyna Harber Caldarone (Friends since 1982)
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