Event remembers Cristina Roque and supports patients
On March 5, Cristina lost a four-year battle with Non-Hodgkins's lymphoma. She was 29.
Even when she was in the hospital, Cristina anted to make life a little easier for everyone around her. After she and her mom, Fran, discovered there were only enough televisions for half the patients on 5W, The BMT Floor at the Ottawa General Hospital, Cristina wanted to help.
Fran recalls her daughter said, “Mom, we should try to raise money to help out and get a TV for each room, so the patients and their caregivers are able to access them when they want.”
On another occasion, Cristina baked cupcakes for the nursing staff at the hospital.
Despite being sick, and travelling from Sudbury to Ottawa for treatments on a regular basis, Cristina kept looking on the bright side.
She was lucky to receive some help from the Little Angel's Blood Cancer Fund, who helped her and her family cover fees like travel expenses, parking and food.
Knowing she'd want to help in a similar way, Fran and friends of Cristina decided to do something about it.
As the anniversary of her death approaches, friends and family of the Sudbury woman thought now would be a fitting time to keep her memory alive, and give back at the same time.
On March 3, a number of community artists are coming together to host Cristina's Coffee House. Funds from the evening of music will support Cristina's Care Fund, which helps other families in need of assistance during their travels caused by cancer.
The event is slated to begin at 6 p.m. at the Caruso Club, and will feature a variety of performances and coffees and desserts.
Cristina was actively involved in the community as a Sampo Rhythmic Gymnastics Coach, a coach with the Sudburian Soccer Club, a yoga instructor and an elementary school teacher. She left a lasting impression said those who knew her.
“When I think back now over the years we were friends, I try to pick out her most important lessons and the impressions she has left on me,” her friend Liija Cassidy Eskola said. “She was constantly driven to improve the quality of life and experiences of those around her.
“Cristina was such an important part of my life, helping to define the kind of person I am now and will be in the future; Our friendship changed my life.”
Cassidy Eskola said the coffee house is “a wonderful” platform to draw attention to the issue of travel expenses and the effects it can have on families dealing with cancer.
Fran said Cristina would be “so proud” to know she was helping others who went through the trails of travelling to deal with the disease. Part proceeds from the event will go to Cristina's Care Fund, with remaining funds going to the Ottawa General, where Cristina travelled weekly.
Tickets to the fundraiser are now available from Fran at 705-524-3316 or at the Caruso Club and Faiella Classic Hair.
They cost $20, and include admission to the show which features vocal performances by Don Kunto, JoPo, Hugh Jazz, Jess Crowe, Andrew Hyatt, Jamie Dupuis, dance numbers by Arts North and gymnastic performances by Roque's former students, as well as a silent auction. Donations will also be accepted.
Furthermore, the Cristina Care Fund has been set up at the Northern Cancer Foundation in Sudbury for anyone who wishes to donate.
For more information, dial 705-524-3316.