Carmen Fisher Risi
I first met Carmen Risi through the Chicago theater community and immediately knew she was someone special. I did not have to dig deep to know she was remarkably talented, as that was evident from the moment I heard her sing. What I did not know was that I had met one of the bravest humans I had ever or will ever have the privilege of calling my friend. As I learned more about Carmen, the common theme I noticed was that she repeatedly made brave decisions and then pursued those paths with passion, authenticity and a willingness to learn and grow in even the most difficult circumstances.
When Carmen learned she was BRCA+, her efforts turned to having a baby so she could prevent a cancer diagnosis. While finding herself down the road of fertility treatments, which would prove to be a large financial burden on their family, she approached this challenge as she does everything: with perseverance, bravery, focus, and tremendous compassion and grace.
When I opened the text that read, “I have news,” I assumed I was about to learn that Carmen was pregnant. Instead, what I read next was: I have breast cancer. It didn’t make sense. She was trying to have a baby so that she could have her reproductive organs removed to prevent cancer. She was doing everything she was supposed to. She was doing everything right. Cancer doesn’t care about right.
Since Carmen’s diagnosis, I have witnessed the bravest woman I know continuing to honor her feelings, to show compassion to herself, and to fight with everything has so that this ugly bump in the road will be a distant memory on her journey to starting her beautiful family. I hope to show bravery in my life like I see from Carmen.
Money should not be an obstacle to start a family. Money should not be an obstacle when fighting cancer. Carmen and her husband, Rob, are tremendously deserving of a BTB Scholarship to support them while Carmen beats breast cancer.
Friend and BTB Champion
I met Carmen Fisher Risi in September of 2017 as a coworker and fellow artist while performing a live Equity production of “Hot Mikado”, and I’m forever grateful I did. Upon meeting, she was an excellent example of kindness, compassion, confidence, faith, and dedication, and still is today. We became carpool buddies, fast friends, and I know she’s here for a full lifetime. Her lovely husband Rob is funny, intelligent, hard-working, and Carmen’s rock. He’s an excellent third wheel on our dinner dates, as he’s also an excellent cook.
Carmen is a force that no cancer should reckon with. She prepared for her cancer battle years before her diagnosis after testing positive for the brca gene and supporting her mother and aunt through their cancer battles. Prior to cancer, about two years ago, Carmen and Rob began a battle they could’ve never prepared for: infertility. At first, they struggled with difficulties conceiving. They persevered and did eventually conceive, but unfortunately had not one, but two miscarriages in less than a year. Carmen’s cancer diagnosis came shortly after her second D&C and test results explaining why their second baby didn’t survive. Cancer inconveniently came, and Rob and Carmen sprang to action to protect their future children prior to Carmen’s first cancer treatment.
Right now, Carmen and Rob are parents to a very small number of thriving embryos that are waiting to be born. However, with the struggles this beautiful couple have already encountered, any help ensuring their healthiest embryos come earthside would be a blessing. With your organization’s help, Carmen and Rob’s embryos could receive BRCA1 genetic testing. This is very important to Carmen and Rob, as they want the opportunity to spare their future children a destiny with cancer. Please consider helping this beautiful couple, my dear friends, during their journey towards parenthood after they kick cancer to the curb.
Thank you for your time and consideration,