Born in 1962 and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, to parents Rose and Bill (both deceased), and older brother Jeff, she learned the value of faith and family from a young age. The traditions she holds dear continues on in everything she touches. Her brother, who lives close to Charmaine, is currently an ICU nurse at the Cleveland Clinic, and they enjoyed a happy and normal and close knit childhood.
Since Charmaine lived a few miles away from me, she went to a different elementary school, but we met up at Charles A. Mooney Junior High School, and then on to Rhodes HS. Although we never cheered together on a squad (I was a cheerleader for one year only - in 8th grade), Charmaine tried out in 9th grade and made the cheerleading squad at that time. She then continued her cheerleading career at Rhodes HS, and beyond. As we get to reacquaint with Charmaine, her passion for life and her loved ones shines through, and we realize that she has been "cheerleading" her entire life: for her husband and sons, her life with breast cancer, her faith and surrounding communities and all of humanity.
For those who remember Lowe's Pool, the tennis courts near there, and summer volleyball at Bryant ES, it's where Charmaine met the love of her life, Chuck, when she was 16 and he, 17 (queue the song from the Sound of Music. Chuck went to St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, Ohio, (and graduated from Cleveland State), but they had an instant attraction in the Summer of 1978 and dated all through high school until they married on September 8, 1984.
Once we graduated from Rhodes in 1980, Charmaine went to Tri-C (Cuyahoga Community College) and earned an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education. She worked a few years in the field until she and Chuck began their family. She is the proud mom of Jason, born in October of 1985; and Jacob, born in December of 1988. They both went to the same high school as their dad, St. Ignatius, and are both college graduates. They enjoyed their boys immensely, and their collective love of baseball was all the rage in the Adamczyk household for many years (and as a family traveled to various MLB Stadiums on vacation too).
Charmaine mentioned that when her sons were young, she worked in bookkeeping for the Paige family, better known as the Honey Hut Ice Cream Store/"franchise", since she grew up near the first store on State Road and knew the family well. After 16 years, she went back to teaching...briefly, until an Office Manager Position opened for her (a job share) at St. Anthony's of Padua, a Catholic School from K-8. She loves her part-time job and has been working there the last 17 years. She said she is going back on June 22, 2020 (off due to COVID). In addition, Charmaine also was a Longaberger Consultant and sold baskets and pottery for many years which she loved. She said it was the close friendships she made with some of the other consultants and customers along her journey that made all the difference apart from selling.
Chamaine, who loves to cook and entertain, and very organized, uses her time wisely when off. Most notably as a doting grandmother of six! Her son Jason, with his wife Christa, have five children: Cole, 5; Nathan, 3.5; Grace, 2; and twins Grant and Barrett (Rhett), 3 months old. Her son, Jacob, with his wife Jennifer, have one daughter, Savannah, 5 months old. Charmaine loves kids and all these wonderful grandchildren truly makes her heart sing with joy each day. She said there is nothing like being a grandparent!
As we all know, we don't get out of this life unscathed, and it's no different with Charmaine and her uphill battle with breast cancer - diagnosed on March 17, 2011. Sadly, seventeen months prior to Charmaine's diagnosis, her mother died of breast cancer (hormone driven breast cancer as opposed to Charmaine's protein driven breast cancer). Charmaine's strong belief in faith put her on a path of well-being and cancer free, beginning with her routine mammogram six months prior to her diagnosis (clear).
A short time before the devastating diagnosis, Charmaine had some minor foot surgery, and the doctor recommended a chest X-ray that Charmaine reluctantly scheduled. Lo and behold, the doctor called Charmaine and told her she has some "lesions" on her breasts and needed further testing. As fate has it, Charmaine was put on another path with angels that helped her navigate the very complicated task of getting appointments and seeing the right doctors for her type of cancer (HER2) - a very fast growing and aggressive cancer that only 20% of breast cancers fall into. All treatment was at the Cleveland Clinic, and Charmaine leaned on her positivity to get through the trying times she had while fighting this cancer. The lifesaver was the fact Charmaine was in the early stages of this type of cancer and was able to take Herceptin through an IV port, which in effect, saved her life. She is thankful beyond anyone's wildest dreams and that is a testament to her prayerful life and super strong faith!
Her horrific and heart wrenching timeline was "quick" after initial diagnosis, with surgery on her Left breast on 4/5/11; chemo began on 5/11/11; surgery on her Right breast on 11/1/11; chemo completed in 9/11 and reconstruction surgery in January of 2012. It looks so condensed here with the timeline, but the angst, prayers offered, pain, suffering and worry by Charmaine, her family and friends are way larger than this crazy timeline.
I have to add, Charmaine, who loves all bright colors, said she continued to laugh and enjoy life as best as she could during those tiresome days. She says she is here, nine years later and THANKS THE LORD for all of it. She feels great today (exercises and does yoga regularly), and truly sees life differently. She does not take anything or anyone for granted; and I love this, she sees her life through a sensitive lens.
As we continued to catch up I noticed that Charmaine is leading the life she was always meant to have; one with gratefulness and compassion and living a happy fulfilled life with her husband, sons and daughters-in law, and a gaggle of grandchildren she simply adores. She said she cherishes her Italian heritage where she lives for family...or shall we all agree... that "she cheers for her family" every single day! Best gift ever received: LOVE; Best gift she's given away: LOVE.
Before I wrap up this post, I wanted to share one more story Charmaine shared with me regarding her breast cancer and the people, er, angels, that paved her pathway to her restored health and a strong and willful mind. A friend of Charmaine's, with breast cancer as well, had given Charmaine a small book called: God Never Blinks - 50 Lessons in Life by Clevelander Regina Brett. Charmaine carried this book everywhere, and maintains today it's dog-eared and post-it noted up, but was a very inspiring book that she needed when in the chemo-suite and her life during those difficult days. It ultimately sustained her. After a couple of years, the author was at a local Cleveland Library, and Charmaine and her friend went to hear her speak, and hopefully, sign their books. They waited a long time to get to Ms. Brett, with a long line still following, but once Ms. Brett saw Charmaine's beat up tome of her book, she was awe struck with Charmaine and their eyes locked for a brief moment...and she knew instantly why Charmaine needed her book (and thankful she probably wrote it). She then inscribed her book: "To Charmaine, May we grow old old old together."
And lastly, in addition to Charmaine's busy family life, her oncologist asked Charmaine if she'd like to consider being a 4th Angel Mentor - which started at the Cleveland Clinic and Olympian Skater, Scott Hamilton, and she said, "yes." It's now a national nonprofit organization that provides free one-on-one confidential outreach support for cancer patients and caregivers alike (Charmaine fits the bill with both services). https://4thangel.ccf.org/Home/OurStory
BSoleille! The bright side of #CelebratingOthers with Charmaine Adamczyk, a survivor and thriver and lives by "Through Christ all Things are Possible" Philippians 4:13
Photos from Charmaine including her immediate family.
|Wedding Day, September 8, 1984|
|Charmaine's entire family with six grandkids! March 2020|
|Charmaine and Chuck|
|Charmaine and Chuck with Jason and Jacob|
|Jason and Jennifer's Wedding|