TAMPA (FOX 13) - A woman's life-changing illness inspired friends to take action and their compassion to help is now inspiring others.
Rena Carideo is glad to be working out again. In 2009 she was diagnosed with cervical cancer after going to the doctor for a check-up.
"I was completely shocked. Cancer wasn't even in my scope," said Rena. "My family doesn't have a history of cancer, never had anybody close to me affected by cancer."
Rena didn't believe the news at first.
"To the point that I actually didn't believe she had the correct records. Turned out she did," Rena recalled.
She went into remission, but in 2012, the cancer came back.
"Outside of being completely devastated, you're also confused," she explained.
To help Rena financially, a group of her friends got together and put on a fundraiser.
Rena's good friend, Theresa Mcdonough said they wanted to do something special. They called their grassroots effort the Teal Recovery Project.
They started in 2013 to help Rena. Now they are helping others.
"I don't think any of us realized that it would stick this long and it would be this successful," Theresa said.
Dustin Baker owns workout facility Klikfit. He is contributing to the cause.
"It's the absolute least that I can do to kind of give back to someone who's deserving," Baker said.
Each year, they select one person with cervical cancer and raise thousand's of dollars of financial support.
"When you are battling something like cancer the last thing you want to think of is how are you going to put food on the table for your family or how are going to put gas in your car to get kids to school," Rena said.
She was so inspired by what her friends did that she is now president of the organization.
"To be able to give to one woman can ultimately change her life. It really really can," she said.
Next month they have an event to raise money for another woman fighting cancer. Visit www.thetealrecoveryproject.org for more information.