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This fundraiser ended on 07/04/14

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Stephanie Costa's twin sister Jennifer is asking for help to support Stephanie through her journey with brain cancer. Thank you for giving!

     Hello... I'm Stephanie's twin sister Jennifer and I want to thank you for taking the time to learn about Stephanie's story. First, a little about how I know her as she moves through the world. Many ask what is it like being a twin. She's the first to tell all that I'm older by 8 minutes! Truth is, we don't know life without each other. Together, before breath, is all we know. While very close, we happen to be very different. We share a great understanding of each other, deeply honor our differences and trust each other in ways there are no words for. One example that comes to mind is she is an avid knitter who taught herself at age 14. While I was getting into the usual teenage debacles, she was watching and knitting and suggesting other roads to me! So as I wrap myself in sweaters, scarves and blankets made over several decades now, we laugh at her early wisdom and my (yawn) youthful foolishness as we get even closer with age. She is a caring and giving person in so many ways and is very active at the Fair Street Church, Kingston, NY as a deacon donating countless hours of community service through the church. Many thanks to the church members that have helped Stephanie with rides to treatments or meals during recovery or gifts and visits and prayers. She makes cookies for our soldiers, hats for the sick, has rescued abused cats, and continues to say "thank you" with amazing handmade scarves or "welcome" to newborn babies with handmade blankets. 
     In September 2013 Stephanie received the news that her intermittent headaches were more than headaches. Thanks to Brian Callahan, NP who said "Let's investigate this a bit more", the MRI revealed a peach-pit sized growth in the left side of her brain that was affecting her walking and speech ever so slightly. Life saving brain surgery happened in October 2013 At St. Pete's Hospital in Albany NY and the care was exceptional. She was officially diagnosed with a high grade aplastic astrocytoma; a rare aggressive form of brain cancer. All that could be seen was removed in a six hour surgery and her recovery went the best anyone could have expected. Her first words were, "I'm cranky and thirsty!" and all present cheered and cried. The brain is still very mysterious and outcomes are so challenging for the doctors to predict. The fantastic staff at Health Alliance Hospital OR, where I work, raised an amazing amount of money in a very short time with bake sales done secretly and gifted this to me for her to help her keep her apartment, care for her beloved cat Oreo, and get her through surgery, recovery and treatments. My sister can stretch a dollar like no one else! You are all amazing and I thank you again! She's completed brain radiation therapy and chemotherapy and is in a respite period as we await the next MRI coming soon. She's remaining active with the church and is slowly making it back to her new adjusted activity level. 
     So my request for help comes out of a need to move her to a ground floor apartment. She is on a third floor stair only access apartment and we are lucky she could stay there but the time has come to ask for help to secure a ground floor dwelling due to changes in her walking making stairs not such a good idea. Second, her mounting medical expenses are high. There are too many bills not covered fully and she needs help. She struggles asking for help and is fiercely independent but life has a way of making us stretch in new directions. She also happens to have a twin who has no problem asking for her! One final request, I want to get her a sewing machine and some lessons locally. It is a long desire of hers that just hasn't happened yet. So, I thank you for giving. Help me keep her busy with the activities she loves! Help me get her moved to a safer apartment with easier access. Help me ease the financial strain of medical bills that pile up with life events such as this. I'm so grateful for any small amount to help her. I will post regularly how she is doing so check back. Thanks so much, Jennifer

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