A little over a month ago, Marcee Ribeiro D’Amora was hiking and fell, injuring her back.
After a number of visits to the doctor to address the continual pain, she was diagnosed with cancer. Two tumors had attached to her spine.
She has undergone two surgeries since the initial diagnosis and will continue with a regimen of chemotherapy or radiation, depending upon further discussions with her oncologist.
Ribeiro graduated from Salado in 1992, having attended Salado schools since Kindergarten.
Her family attended the Salado Church of Christ and Ribeiro was named Miss Flame while she was in High School. “I wore black lipstick,” she recalls with a laugh.
Anyone who has known her for any time at all would understand that.
Today, Ribeiro is a teacher. She returns to the classroom in Lexington this fall to teacher Middle School there. “I’m still an Eagle,” she says, but my colors have changed. She lives in tiny Blue, Texas just outside of Lexington with her husband Bobby D’Amora, her son Stephen, 15, and daughter Memphis, six.
Her first surgery was to rebuild one of the vertebrae destroyed by the cancerous tumor. Marrow was taken from her hip and injected into her spine to help rebuild other weakened vertebrae.
In place of one of the vertebrae is titanium. “I’m kind of the bionic woman,” she says.
Even with insurance, the costs of prolonged hospital stays, medical bills and other expenses are stacking up against the family. A friend of hers launched a Go Fund Me campaign recently.
In just under two weeks, almost $10,000 has been raised for Ribeiro at the Go Fund Me page. More than 120 donors have given amounts from $15 to $150. Many are former classmates and lifelong friends, as well as parents of the young children she taught for nine years at the Austin Discovery School.
Following surgery earlier this week, Marcee will undergo radiation therapy to combat the fibroids in her breasts.
“You know I’m a fighter, right?” she asked in over the phone last week. She was getting rested for the second surgery the following morning and readying herself for the treatment regimen to follow.
Having known her from her high school days, when she worked at Sweet Nut Things, Browning’s Cafe and The Range, I can easily answer that question.
“Damn right you’re a fighter!”