This Go Fund Me page has been created to support the Russo Family following Sheila's recent leukemia diagnosis (AML). Everyone who knows Sheila knows that she is full of life! She is beautiful, funny, clever, loving, supportive, strong, and brightens up whatever room she is in. She someone who has been very generous with her time and resources to countless charities and Catholic organizations. Her husband, Rocco, is constantly surprised and comforted by the amount of “thank you" cards and letters that frequent their mailbox. Sheila has always been the person who sees the bright and positive side of situations and the best in people. She is the first one to give someone the benefit of the doubt, and she radiates positivity. Sheila is an amazing wife, mother of four incredible daughters, grandmother, sister, aunt, friend, and a woman of immense faith. Typically, when she’s not working with kids on nailing their upcoming auditions or volunteering her time with the St. Peter Claver Youth Ministry, she can be found hiking, at yoga class, on travel adventures, hosting game nights, and babysitting her 2 year old granddaughter Mila Grace, the light of her life. Sheila holds her faith above all else.
No one plans for cancer. Sheila has been the healthiest person we know, and this all happened so suddenly. The Russo Family's nightmare started a few weeks ago. Sheila was feeling very fatigued, had trouble walking up the stairs and doing daily tasks. Her doctor ordered a blood test to see if she might have a simple virus. The test showed extremely high counts for her white blood cells, so the doctor immediately ordered another blood test... which led to a handful more. Sheila was sent to the ER on the afternoon of June 6th, 2019. There, a doctor confirmed everyone’s worst nightmare – Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Cancer. Sheila was then rushed in an ambulance to City of Hope, where she began chemo immediately upon arrival.
After her initial round of chemo, doctors then started her on a seven-day 24/7 chemo regimen. There were no breaks, they had to immediately attack all the cancerous cells in her body. Acute Myeloid Leukemia is fast and intense, it is a cancer of the blood, which means that it is in your entire body. While Sheila has been undergoing treatment, everyday has brought new challenges and complications: 5 straight days of unrelieved migraines, MRI’s at 2am, 9lbs of fluid buildup in her lungs, sores and blisters in her GI track, on a "Nothing By Mouth" diet for over 2 weeks receiving fluid IV only, multiple spinal taps, and a blood patch on her spine, just to name a few...but she is fighting on.
AML is a rare and devastating cancer, but it is treatable, and we are all hoping, praying, and expecting that Sheila will recover. The goal is to get Sheila home and into remission so she can rebuild her strength and continue being there for her friends, family, and community. Since her diagnosis, Sheila's husband and family members have been with her around the clock and have had to put aside work and everything in their lives to help her fight this fight.
The Russo Family is only asking for prayers. There have been several prayer services held for Sheila's speedy recovery, countless masses and rosaries have been said in her name. They did not ask for this Go Fund Me account, however, Sheila's friends feel that this fundraiser will enable people to show their love for Sheila and provide financial assistance to the family in their time of need.
Friends and family are asking daily what they can do to help Sheila and the Russo Family during this battle. A monetary donation of any amount will reduce the stress the family will incur due to endless medical bills, lack of ability to work, medication costs, and ongoing medical treatments. This battle will not only be extremely difficult, but also very expensive. Any amount is greatly appreciated and will be put to good use in supporting the family during this difficult time.
Sheila and Rocco have been very open and public about this tragedy from the very first day. With the Russo Family's deep-seeded faith, the most important thing during this battle is prayer. While we don’t know why God had planned this for Sheila, we do know that Sheila trusts inherently in Him and His plan. There are many ways to contribute: prayer, sending cards to City of Hope (Room 5213), home cooked meals for the family, using this Go Fund Me account, donating platelets or blood at City of Hope in Duarte...but most important above everything – please pray. Thank you to everyone for your continued support in this long fight to kick cancer's butt!