Fundraiser set for Manhattan teen fighting cancer
BY DENISE M. BARAN-UNLAND Correspondent October 4, 2013 1:46PM
Jenna Hickok (left), a stylist at Samantha Marie Salon in New Lenox, poses with Hope Ceroy, 16, of Manhattan. Hope is battling osteoblastic osteosarcoma and Hickok raised money to buy Hope two human hair wigs. | Supplied photo
If you go
What: Friends of Hope
When: 1 to 6 p.m. Oct. 13
Where: 115 Bourbon Street, 3359 W. 115th St., Merrionette Park
Etc: Full buffet, beer/wine/soft drinks, silent auction and raffle, live entertainment. Proceeds benefit Hope Ceroy, 16, who is battling osteoblastic osteosarcoma.
Tickets: $30 each or $50 per couple in advance; $35 each/$60 per couple at door; $10 for individuals under 21; 5 and under are free.
Donate: Harris Bank Manhattan, Attn: Friends of Hope, 505 S. State St., Manhattan
Contact: Gena Sullivan at 708-309-6102
Updated: November 7, 2013 6:37AM
Hope Ceroy, 16, of Manhattan wears a T-shirt that says “Cancer Makes You Bald” and is dubbed “cancer pants” by Jenna Hickok, a stylist at Samantha Marie Salon in New Lenox.
Hickok recently raised money to buy Hope two natural hair wigs because Hope, a Lincoln-Way Central High School student, is battling osteoblastic osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer that also causes masses in soft tissue, said Hope’s mother, Christine Ceroy of Manhattan.
Despite 10 rounds of aggressive chemotherapy costing $90,000 each, the cancer still spread to Hope’s lungs. Hope recently underwent surgery to remove her fibula, where the bone cancer originated, as well as the small muscle at the back of her leg.
Hope next will receive three more rounds of chemotherapy followed by a two-week rest before enduring lung surgery. And Hope is taking it all in stride, Christine said.
“People who meet her can’t believe she’s as strong as she is,” Christine said. “Her spirit is just not broken.”
Back in January, Christine never imagined that Hope’s seemingly innocuous and sporadic foot pain and two bouts of back-to-back pneumonia — especially in a teen accustomed to an active lifestyle of playing softball and soccer — would lead to a fight that might break many adults.
At first, Christine blamed shoes with no arch supports for the foot pain; she assumed antibiotics and steroids had relieved the breathing difficulties. Then one day, after Hope twisted her knee jumping down a couple of stairs, an X-ray revealed a bone mass and two small fractures.
A week later, an MRI showed the mass had grown. An open biopsy on May 2 found the bone cancer.
Christine, along with Hope’s father, Ron Ceroy, and her 12-year-old brother, Justin Ceroy, a red belt at ATA Frankfort Black Belt Academy, shower Hope with love and support.
To help combat the side effects of chemotherapy — nausea and sores in Hope’s mouth, throat, esophagus and stomach — Christine applies ointments and spoon-feeds Hope “smoothies” prepared from nutritious foods.
“We decided there was no point in crying, acting foolish and making it worse,” Christine said. “Half of your health is your mind.”
Supporting the Ceroys as they support Hope are three individuals they might describe as angelic.
Hickok, who knew Hope enjoyed cutting her hair into long layers, sold gift basket raffle tickets to buy two human hair wigs. Hickok ordered them long and in light shades — one red and one blonde — so Hope could cut and color them as she wished.
“I love her,” Hickok said, “and not just as a client. She’s just a fun, funky girl and I knew how important her hair was to her.”
Gena Sullivan of New Lenox is coordinating an Oct. 13 fundraiser for the Ceroy family. Gena’s daughter, Hannah Sullivan, is Hope’s best friend. Hosting the benefit is something positive the Sullivan family can do for Hope, Sullivan said.
“People that have healthy kids don’t know how lucky they are,” Sullivan said. “I feel helpless when my son gets minor injuries and I have to watch him go through stitches and staples. What this family is going through day in and day out, I can’t even imagine. It’s horrific.”
Breast cancer survivor Colleen Lenz of Manhattan cares for Justin and helps him with his homework when Christine stays at the hospital with Hope. Lenz gave similar assistance to another friend’s children when their mother was severely ill and after her death.
“So many people complain about their problems,” Lenz said, “but here’s a girl with real problems and she’s fighting back and handling it with grace. She’s an inspiration to so many people.”