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Woman stuck in Milwaukee hospital with rare cancer, Florida family calls for help

"Please add Marlena to your prayers she will need all she can get"
Posted at 3:47 PM, Jun 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-29 17:57:55-04

MILWAUKEE — It's a cry for help for something that no mother, including Sheila Ciambrone, ever wants to face.

"Please do what you can to help me so I can be here to help my little girl," pleaded Sheila.

Her daughter 28-year-old Marlena Ciambrone is fighting for her life, after being diagnosed with an extremely rare and aggressive form of sinus cancer: SMARCB1-deficient sinonasal carcinoma.

"The entire sinus cavity is taken up by the tumor. It's invading across into her right eye so it's actually pressing upwards on her brain," said Sheila. "As of right now before Marlena, there were only 39 reported cases of it."

Sheila says Marlena always had issues with her sinuses, but it wasn't until she was constantly getting nosebleeds three months ago that she realized something was wrong. She was admitted to Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center three weeks ago. But doctors say at this point, the tumor is inoperable.

"There's a real risk that we could lose her because it's so aggressive," said Sheila.

As she begins chemotherapy, Marlena is still facing some challenges. She's lost vision in her left eye, and now her right eye is started to be affected.

"She loves to paint, and draw, and sketch, and right now to see that she's potentially going fully blind is heartbreaking."

Now her family is turning to the community for help by launching a GoFundMe page, in hopes of raising the money to pay for medical costs, moving expenses, and more.

"It's a real financial burden right now for me and her dad, but I'm trying to hold it together and do what I can for her," said Sheila. "I have to be able to help her."

And they're holding on to hope that they'll be able to bring their daughter home.

"I thank the man above that she is still here and I pray to him that he doesn't take my little girl. We can be the one who says that she beat the rare cancer."

If you'd like to help donate to the Ciambrone's GoFundMe, click here.

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