Cris Strong

Cancer can hit anyone at anytime. It was on November 10th that my sister Cristina, my husband, our two children, and I were in a van taking a long road trip to Florida. We were 3 hours from our destination when the call came in. Sobbing in the back of the van, she said to me “Ang can you pull over for a minute?” In my entire life, I have probably only seen my sister cry 3 times. I turned around and she was crying so hard. I made my way back there, grabbed her, and begged her to tell me what was wrong. She finally was able to mutter out the words “I have cervical cancer. I’m not going to be able to have children. Why!? Why is this happening to me? All I’ve ever wanted was to have children”.

As a mom of 2 young children, I was unable to fathom this pain. Most of you know and see how Cristina is the best aunt to David and I’s children and the love she has for children. This is my sisters heart, the FIRST thing that comes out of her mouth after telling me she has cervical cancer was that she will not be able to have children. Not even mentioning that this cancer could possibly take her life; and the fight that is ahead of her. Her only concern was that her dreams of ever being a mom have been taken away.

Our trip was cut short as she had an appointment for that Monday with an oncologist. Another biopsy was done as well as a physical exam. They found the tumor had overtaken her Cervix and that the cancer has spread. She has a very aggressive stage 2b cervical cancer. Her type of cancer is a rare type and because of how vast and aggressive her cancer is surgery is not an option. She will undergo radiation along with chemotherapy and brachytherapy. The treatments will immediately make Cristina infertile and unable to carry a child.

Before treatment begins, Cristina is going through egg harvesting currently with fertility specialists. She may not ever be able to get pregnant and carry her own child; however, she may be able to harvest her eggs and be able to have a gestational carrier to carry Cristina’s biological children. This was not Cristina’s dream but at only 31 We need to do everything possible to help Cristina be able to someday have her dream of having her own children.

Insurance does not cover the transfer and harvesting of her eggs. This process is $5,000. We need your help! Every night and morning For the past week I have been giving my strong sister injection upon injection to start the process to harvest her eggs. This is a heartbreaking process that we never thought would ever have to come to fruition. After this process, Cristina will start her Radiation and chemo therapy treatments.

We know that our faith is being tested and we have every reason to hold firmly to our faithful God. Cristina’s deductible, co-pays, unexpected medical expenses for specialists and different tests, as well as loss of employment will be very demanding financially. Your gift will help us to concentrate on focusing on Cristina and helping her get through this treatment while not having to be worried how we will provide for her needs. We don’t want to waste this cancer or what the Lord is doing in all of our family’s lives.

We are so thankful and blessed to be surrounded by our family and friends during this time. Your love, support, and prayers are very special gifts from the Lord. May God richly bless each and every one of you. We love you all! #CrisStrong

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand”(Isaiah 41:10).

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Organizer and beneficiary

Angela Calabrese Smilovici 
Des Plaines, IL
Cristina Calabrese 
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