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Celenza returns to school after cancer battle

Sophomore Tosh Celenza is back at school after surgery to remove cancer. Photo by Brandon McGinnis

With no scars to show and spirits still high, it’s difficult to believe that sophomore Tosh Celenza is fighting through cancer.

Tosh, a sophomore, was diagnosed with a Malignant Chondromyxoid Poliferation in his jaw and upper mouth at the end of last semester. He received surgery shortly thereafter and he says doctors are confident that they successfully removed the cancer. He returned to campus today with a reduced course schedule.

Tosh talked about his experience these past few months.

“My cancer was chondromyxoid proliferation which is a type of cancer dealing with the bone. This was in my jaw and upper part of my mouth, which caused me to lose all except four of my upper teeth and my left side part of my jaw,” he explained. “After this experience the only thing that’s going to change is the amount of sugar and nasty foods I decide to eat.”

Cairo Celenza, a freshman and Tosh’s brother, commented on how he felt about the whole situation.

“It was rough at first when we found out,” said Cairo. “Tosh and I talk and play video games, but he has been a little more depressed and alone a lot.”

Sophomore Collin Ashorn talked about his experience of finding out about his friend’s diagnosis.

“I didn’t really believe it at first,” he said. “I was really worried about him, but I know he’s a strong kid and can fight his way through this.”

“It was shocking. We were really concerned for him,” said Bear River Principal Amy Besler. “We were hoping doctors would be able to take care of it. I hadn’t seen him when the swelling began. I hadn’t heard anything before he announced anything.”

Bear River staff talked about how the school has been supporting Tosh and his family.

“We check in, call, email, and send notes,” said Principal Besler. “We’re checking in to see what we can do.”

Basketball PE and Health Teacher Jeff Bickmore explained how he reacted to Tosh’s news.

“I was shocked when I found out about Tosh’s cancer,” said Mr. Bickmore. “Before Christmas he showed me and one of the other coaches that he had a growth in his mouth. He had no idea what is what and neither did we. When we saw how much it had grew over Christmas break, we got really concerned.”

Bickmore went on to talk about his relationship with Tosh.

“I have had a good relationship with him since I met him at the beginning of his freshmen year,” he said. “Tosh was in my Basketball P.E. class. He is one of the best all-around athletes I have ever had in class.”

Tosh talked about his disappointment about not being able to participate in sports.

“After everything I feel a little let down because I was really looking forward to Baseball,” said Tosh.

But Tosh showed that cancer isn’t holding him back.

“There is really nothing else I could do about all of it. Life is life and it just happens.”

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Celenza returns to school after cancer battle