Huntsville residents are rallying behind a community member who has faced some significant medical challenges.
Maria Karakoulas has started a GoFundMe campaign on behalf of her younger sister, Christina Perentesis, who was diagnosed with an aggressive form of bladder cancer in October 2020.
She has endured much since then.
Chemotherapy sessions at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital often led to an infection for which she’d be treated at Huntsville Hospital. “We almost lost her twice due to sepsis,” wrote Karakoulas. “Instead of killing the cancer, chemo was killing Christina’s hemoglobin, actually depleting it and causing her to be bed ridden and exhausted.”
On March 16, 2021, Christina underwent a major, six-hour operation which removed her entire bladder, uterus, ovaries, part of her vagina, two lymph nodes, and a kidney. “She has 60 staples running from her breastbone to her pelvic bone,” added Karakoulas. “During the first few days in the hospital, Christina was on a road to recovery, then she got a C-difficile bacterial infection. This infection caused her bowels to stop working, she had to have a tube inserted from her nose to her stomach to help remove any waste. This was in there for two days. Once they took it out, she felt ok for one day, and then it had to go back in and has been in there ever since. But it got worse.”
Fluid started to accumulate in her abdomen, which restricted her breathing and she requires oxygen. She also has gone into renal failure. “Yes, the only kidney she has has stopped working,” said Karakoulas, but the fluid in Christina’s abdomen contains no cancerous cells according to doctors, some good news in a difficult time.
Many community members will recognize Christina from her work at Family Place Restaurant.
“Anyone who knows Christina…has experienced her kindness, compassion, empathy for others pure, giving heart, and, of course, her wonderful sarcasm. She loves life, loves her family, loves her photography, and loves working at The Family Place Restaurant with her ‘second family’,” said Karakoulas.
“She has a long road to recovery and won’t be back to work for at least six months to a year,” Karakoulas added. “Christina WILL get back on her feet, but she needs some help until she does. Any donation amount would be greatly appreciated.”
In less than 24 hours, the campaign has raised more than $15,000. You can read more or donate on GoFundMe here.
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