Editor’s Note: Christy Angelo lost a short five month battle with colon cancer on Christmas Eve 2012. Her mother Clarice and her friends Julie, Rachel, and Meaghan share their memories of this life cut too short.
(Clarice Angelo – Christy’s mom) Christy had a great sense of adventure and a lively spirit. Shortly after graduating college she moved to Manhattan and worked in New York City for a year. From NYC she moved to Philadelphia for a couple of years, before transferring back to Pittsburgh. She was a very social person who loved getting together with family and friends, often hosting parties at her home. Christy had a “can do” attitude; nothing was too difficult for her to attempt. She had an abundance of energy and determination to reach her goals. Christy was devoted to friends, family, and her career.
(Julie Lucci – Christy’s friend) Christy truly lit up the room whenever she entered. Her personality, charisma, beauty and love of life emanated from her at all times. Christy always put others before herself. She loved to entertain and planned some of the most amazing memories for so many of her friends. She was extremely talented on many levels – from dance and music to business and social skills – Christy always had ‘it’ together. She was a very hard worker and very inspirational to anyone who came in contact with her. Christy was an amazing dancer and flautist as a young girl. Although most people from her adult life never knew of these talents, it is truly something not to be overlooked. She spent many years studying classical ballet and flute. Christy also had amazing ‘people’ skills. Christy was known throughout the city of Pittsburgh and loved by everyone. Her ability to plan and orchestrate an event was truly unique, never missing a single detail.
(Clarice) We were always there for each other. We did not visit each other or talk on the phone every day when all was well in our lives. But when one of us had a problem or needed help with something, the other was there immediately and for as long as it took until the issue was resolved or the task was completed.
(Rachel Hutchinson & Meaghan Fawcett – Christy’s friends) Christy and her mother had a truly beautiful relationship. No matter how hard things got, they leaned on each other and got strength from the love that they shared. No matter how scary and overwhelming that this news was, Clarice never left Christy’s side and Christy always stayed positive and was determined to beat this disease. Their love got them through a very hard time and is an inspiration to us all. They showed that mothers and daughters can share the love of a parent/child as well as very best friends.
(Clarice) Christy’s journey began in July 2012 with abdominal pain leading to 5 days in the hospital and a diagnosis on Aug. 1st of a very aggressive rhabdoid variant of colon cancer, stage 4. When Christy was diagnosed my immediate reaction was fear and disbelief. Wondering how I would ever get through the next six months or more, and how I would find strength and courage to support her and stay positive. Then faith and determination took over and I knew I would do whatever it takes to help her beat this. I would support her choices regarding her care and treatment in any way necessary.
(Rachel & Meaghan) Christy and Clarice were more positive about beating this than we would have ever thought possible. Not beating this was never an option for them. This made Christy’s last few months that of positivity instead of negativity.
(Clarice) She lived five months from her diagnosis August 1 to her death on Dec. 24, 2012. After 4 months of treatment including surgery, radiation and chemotherapy with 3 drugs, a follow up PET scan showed significant progression of the cancer with multiple metastatic lesions. Before she had a chance to start 2 new chemotherapeutic drugs she was admitted to the hospital due to numerous complications from extensive metastatic disease. Christy fought hard, stayed positive and hopeful. but lost her battle on Dec. 24th.
Christy’s cancer, an aggressive rhabdoid variant of colon cancer, is very rare, only about a dozen cases in the literature. All have died but one who had the original tumor removed before it metastasized. Chemotherapy has not been effective against it.
My daughter lived life in the present and fast paced. She did not take time to smell the roses but she certainly danced in the rain! She never put anything off, especially things she enjoyed. Having passed away at just 31 years of age, I am glad she made the most of the time she had. She had an innate ability to bring people together and foster friendships. She had a talent for planning successful events. Her fierce determination to succeed and her amazing courage made her who she was.
(Julie) Christy loved to hang out with friends and family. She was a season ticket holder of the Pittsburgh Steelers with her cousin and uncle. She threw fun get-togethers and was truly a social butterfly. She traveled often – seeing sights in the world most people could only dream of. She scrapbooked and kept a very detailed photo-montage of her life. She loved to redecorate her house, LOVED Halloween and getting dressed up for it. Summer was certainly her favorite time of year.
(Rachel & Meaghan) The love that Christy had for everyone in her life made her so special to so many people. She was always willing to lend a helping hand, give a friendly laugh, or loan her shoulder to cry on. When she was diagnosed, she just focused on different treatments, how she was going to beat this, and never stopped making plans for the future. She had such strength that really inspired all of her loved ones.
(Julie) Christy was the most amazing and caring friend a girl could ever ask for. We became friends in 1988 and stayed friends for the next 24 years. In addition to being roommates in college, Christy planned my bachelorette party, my 30th birthday party, and was an integral part of both my wedding and baby showers. In October 2011, my husband and I asked Christy to be the Godmother of our unborn baby girl, Giavanna. Although we didn’t get a chance to baptize my daughter while Christy was still with us here on Earth, I will be sure to raise my daughter so she knows that her “Fairy Godmother” Aunt Christy will always be watching over her in Heaven. Christy was, and always will be, my best friend. The hole that has been left in my heart will never be filled, but I am truly a better person because of her. Everyone knows a great person comes from an even greater family – and the Angelos will ALWAYS be a second family to me.
Christy became even more special to me during her battle with her cancer. She almost never complained, wouldn’t talk about the negatives, and only tried to focus on the positive outcome. Her strength and courage were something I never could have imagined anyone having. She has inspired me to live my life differently – spiritually, mentally and physically.
(Rachel & Meaghan) She always lived life to the fullest. In her 31 years, she probably “lived” more than most people would in 100. We want to honor her by living each day to its ultimate good.
(Clarice) Going forward, I hope to set up a foundation in her name or volunteer to help an organization such as Get Your Rear in Gear to increase awareness about colon cancer particularly in young adults as Christy was just 31 years of age when she was diagnosed and passed away.