ELKHART — Kelly Crimaldi hasn’t lost any of her positive outlook since realizing she had a large brain tumor in November.
And on Saturday, she and her family hope people bring their own sense of optimism at a fundraiser.
Leave the sadness behind, she will tell you.
Crimaldi, a 20-year-old second-year student at Manchester College, was suffering from headaches for weeks and thought it might be related to a automobile accident she had been involved in.
But on Nov. 6, she began suffering from severe vomiting and was taken to a hospital in Wabash, Ind.
She complained that a black line was obscuring her vision and an ophthalmologist detected something behind her eye. A day later, a neuro-ophthalmologist discovered a tumor with the help of an MRI. Surgery was schedule for the next day and doctors removed nearly a quarter of her brain, according to her mother, Marilyn McClure
Weeks later, they were informed that the tumor was cancerous.
McClure said they have been blessed with excellent medical care.
“God just kind of dropped bread crumbs and we just followed the trail,” she said.
And despite the severe challenges, Crimaldi has embraced a heavy does of optimism.
“She’s the most remarkable person I’ve ever met,” McClure said Wednesday. “She’s always been this happy girl with a huge smile and that hasn’t changed through this.”
Her outlook was almost immediate.
“The minute she found out that she had a tumor, she looked at me and my son and said, ‘I don’t want anyone around me that doesn’t have a positive attitude,’” McClure said.
Crimaldi’s theme is simple: I am (living with) not dying from cancer.
Indeed, Crimaldi has even taken a playful outlook toward the tumor itself, which she referred to as George.
Within a few weeks, Crimaldi began chemotherapy and radiation treatments at a hospital in Bloomington, Ind.
Despite removing a quarter of her brain from the front left quadrant, McClure said they have noticed virtually no change in her speech, one of the skills controlled by that region of the brain.
“Her speech is perfect. If you’d talk to her, you’d never know anything was wrong,” McClure said.
Crimaldi’s father, Mike, owns Crimaldi’s Restaurant in Elkhart.
Crimaldi had been studying education and psychology, but is taking a break from classes.
Some of her professors, though, did work with her so she could finish some classes and she did well with her tests, McClure said.
These days, Crimaldi spends much of her time sleeping.
Crimaldi will continue chemo for another year and doctors will monitor her condition to ensure the cancer has not returned, McClure said.
Her daughter’s outlook has been aided with support from friends, some of whom are from the college.
The school is providing transportation to Saturday’s fundraiser at Christiana Creek and the college president has passed along three personal messages, she said.
“The school itself has been amazing,” McClure said. “I’ve never seen a school like this in my life.”
@Breakout heads 08:Fundraiser Saturday
A fundraiser to help defray medical costs incurred by Kelly Crimaldi will begin at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Christiana Creek Country Club, 116 West Bristol St., Elkhart. Activities will include a raffle, silent auction, games, dinner and dancing. A $20 donation is requested. Tickets have been available at Crimaldi’s Restaurant and Lounge, which will be closed Saturday.