Newtown resident, IHS grad Tess Michaelsen is 21 years old and fighting for her life

Newtown Resident Tess Michaelsen is 21 years old and fighting for her life. 

If you have ever dined at Bartolo in Ridgefield, you might recognize Tess as the happy hostess who welcomed you to the restaurant owned by her parent’s Art and Julia. She worked there during the heat of the pandemic - as an essential worker. Tess is a 2017 graduate of Immaculate High School in Danbury and currently resides in Newtown with her family.

It was a nagging pain in her elbow that prompted Tess to seek medical attention this summer. Never did this young, energetic college student, bound for her senior year at Xavier University, think she would hear the doctor utter the words cancer. Exterior-Axial Chordoma is an extremely rare form of cancer that, in Tess’s case, has spread to her lungs and lymph nodes. 

Tess is a true cancer warrior. She won her first fight at the tender age of five after being diagnosed with Leukemia. This illness inspired her passion to work at The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, a nonprofit that provides summer camps and programs free of charge to children with serious illnesses. Tess attended the camp when she was a child.

Tess is currently being treated at Sloan Kettering and hope lies in a clinical trial. It is this experimental treatment that doctors believe can shrink her tumor so that Tess can have surgery, followed by chemotherapy and radiation. 

Here’s where you can help. A good part of Tess’s treatment is not covered by insurance, including the clinical trial. 

Two of Tess’s close friends at Xavier, Grace Rieger and Kayla O'Keefe started a GoFundMe for Tess and are hoping to raise $20,000 (or more) to support her treatment. 

They write:

Tess is a fighter, and a strong one at that! She is no stranger to cancer, as she was diagnosed with Leukemia as a child, which she won her battle with many years ago! She’s an amazing friend and person, never seen without her bubbly personality or bright smile, she truly lights up a room when she is around. She is a strong young woman who is ready to kick cancer’s butt once more.

This courageous young lady is battling hard and determined to complete her senior year at Xavier University! So, in the midst of treatment, and dealing with insurmountable pain due to a tumor in her shoulder, she is taking 18 credits and working on her capstone project so she can graduate in May with a degree in psychology! 

Let’s help Tess!

Please consider supporting Tess and the Michaelsen family by clicking HERE. All contributions will go directly to Tess and her family to help cover the costs of her treatment and hospital visits, allowing them the opportunity to fully focus on Tess’s treatment and recovery. No amount is too small!

Visit the GoFundMe page HERE.


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