Celene’s Angels is a non-profit formed in April 2019 with a mission of helping approved applicants going through chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery who reside in the 724 or 412 area code in Western Pennsylvania. I am Celene and this is my story:
April 23, 2018, at 9:00am while at work in a medical office I would receive the phone call from my doctor that nobody wants to receive, it was that moment that changed my life in an instant. Now I knew I had to face a breast cancer diagnosis and journey. Through the following months, I would learn firsthand the many struggles of going through treatment, being unable to work, the financial impact, and the emotional impact on me and my family. With 9 major hospitalizations, from everything from bilateral pulmonary embolisms (blood clots in both lungs) to infections including sepsis, neutropenia, and various other issues due to infection and chemo complications and ending 2018 with a broken arm. As I pushed forward, many of my lifelong friends would step forward to help me in one way or another – childhood friends, grade school, middle school and high school friends, and family and extended family would step forward to “help brighten her days” and provide meals, various gifts and most importantly prayers.
As I wrapped up 2019 things looked optimistic – my scans were clear – we celebrated those clean scans in December 2019. As 2020 came into focus I went for my mammogram, ultrasound, and MRI for drainage from my left nipple on February 13, the phone call from my oncologist came the next day. I was told there were abnormalities and that it did not “look good” and needed a biopsy. A week later, I received the official call for local recurrence, possible lymph node involvement. On March 24, I underwent partial mastectomy and radiation treatment that ended on June 8. I have learned this is a marathon, not a sprint and that each and every day I am here I can make a difference to someone – even if it is just one person at a time. I am very fortunate to be here after all the complications I encountered through my journey which I continue to battle.
Breast cancer has forever changed my life from what I well knew it as. The gratitude for my family and friends (I call ANGELS) who rallied around me and helped me in so many ways, I always knew I was very blessed. During this ordeal, my friends started Celene’s Angels to cheer me on and in celebration of my mother Claudia Knaus who passed away in 2015.
Celene also paints beautiful unique angel paintings that are available to help raise money for Celene’s Angels. You can find out more at celenesangels.com.