17-year-old’s courage in the face of aggressive cancer strengthens community resolve
■ Matt Mcpherson / Ellen Tichy
Cassi Tichy is a local girl, born and raised in Hemet, who has been battling Ewing’s Sarcoma since September 2015. It is an ugly, aggressive, and very sneaky form of cancer that initially presented itself with tumors in her left hip (grapefruit-sized), throughout both lungs, and on her left shoulder.
Cassi has shown remarkable courage and a forward-thinking, positive attitude, as well as other inspirational qualities throughout this difficult journey.
A special fundraiser has been organized to honor her courage as she continues to fight and to celebrate her approaching 18th birthday on New Year’s Eve.
Help is needed to purchase three Legacy Therapy Massage Chairs.
They will be gifted to the families of cancer patients (and the medical staff) at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, where Cassi receives medical treatments.
For donating, and to read more on Cassi, her journey, and the fundraiser, go to: www.youcaring.com/HOPE4shinebrightcassi. Follow her on Twitter at #shinebrightcassi.
Her mom, Ellen, said, “It was a ‘mother’s heart’ idea that came while deciding how to make Cassi’s New Year’s Eve birthday celebration more special.”
Ellen emphasized that the birthday project was created out of the love for Cassi (and everything she’s gone through), and older siblings, Alena and Devon, as well as the other inpatient families, with whom an empathetic bond was formed during the long hospital stays for chemo treatments.
When asked “why the massage chairs,” Ellen explained, “I remember finding some vending massage chairs at an Asian supermarket near the hospital, and after treating Cassi and myself (even just five minutes), it helped to reduce a lot of the body aches and overall stress from staying in the hospital.”
Ellen recalls that the hospitalization period was often tough, and further commented, “Rady’s medical staff was truly amazing, but other things not so much! For most, there were sleepless nights on the couch (for family), vitals and tests done at any hour (day/night), the constant “waiting and wondering” about your child’s comfort and/or health issues, and the many unanswered questions, worries, shock, and fears! It takes a toll on every aspect of your life, especially physically!
“Then one day a few months ago, a thought literally popped into my head: Massage chairs! What a perfect way to bring it (massage) to the hospital!”
Cassi’s mother revealed that there are still many uncertainties and important decisions ahead for her daughter. Over the summer, test results showed that the cancer had spread from Cassi’s left hip (site of the original tumor), across the nerves, and was encasing her tailbone. Even now, in spite of everything tried (traditional and holistic medicine), it continues to grow.
Ellen paused, and softly added, “To be told that there is NO cure for someone you deeply love is extremely painful and heartbreaking. It’s hard sometimes, but I try and practice thanking God for each new day. Life is truly a special and precious gift.”
All who follow, support, pray, and love Cassi are saddened by this news yet will continue to fight with, and for, this brave and talented young lady. Currently taking a “gap year” from college to focus on the serious health issues ahead, Cassi says her future goals remain unchanged: Beat cancer, get a college degree, and pursue a career as an illustrator.
As a Hemet resident for more than 40 years, Ellen believes that people in the Hemet/San Jacinto Valley communities are caring and generous. If you have been touched by this article, she invites you to visit the above website, make a donation, and pass this request on to as many people as possible.
Ellen offered a final thought: “I really view this opportunity as a group effort. Together we can rally around Cassi, and those who are fighting cancer and other life threatening illnesses. If we can help bring a smile, a few minutes of relaxation, and peace with a massage, then isn’t it worth our efforts to try and make it happen for them? I know that anything given from the heart will be the perfect donation.”
From Cassi’s family to yours comes much heartfelt gratitude, and a wish that you and yours have a bright and merry Christmas!