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Breast cancer victim defied expectations

Published February 16, 2007


When doctors diagnosed Robin Sideratos with advanced breast cancer, they told her she probably had a year and a half to live.

They also told her most women in her condition would likely quit their jobs and resign themselves to mortality.

Ms. Sideratos defied all those expectations.

"They gave her 18 months, and she easily exceeded that and easily doubled it, and was approaching tripling it," said her brother, Scott Crill.

She also kept working at her job as a vice president of lending at Fifth Third Bank.

"She had always been in banking, and there was very little at a bank that she couldn't do," Crill said. "She was always excited about getting up in the morning and going to work."

Eventually, the cancer took her ability to work - Ms. Sideratos resigned her position a few months ago - and eventually her life. She died Jan. 25 at age 45.

Her death prompted an outpouring of support from colleagues. The family was overwhelmed by the flood of flowers, cards and donations for cancer research from her customers, Crill said.

Ms. Sideratos was born in Kalamazoo, Mich., but moved to South Africa with her family as a child. When she was about 10 years old, she met a boy named Stasso Sideratos.

They were childhood sweethearts and married right after high school. (They divorced several years ago.)

Family circumstances brought the couple to the United States in the early 1990s, and they first settled in Kalamazoo.

"Neither of them was well-equipped to deal with the cold," Crill said. "She got a job offer down here and they came to Florida."

In her 11 years here, Ms. Sideratos worked at several banks in eastern Hillsborough County.

"At work, she was all business," said longtime friend Judy Warrick, who worked with her at Valrico State Bank. "She loved her work, but after hours she really enjoyed life. Even when she was sick, she was always looking forward to tomorrow."

Ms. Sideratos devoted the last few years of her life to friends, business and especially her family.

Her family, now divided between South Africa and the Tampa Bay area, gathered together to support her. Just weeks before her death, they treated her to an extravagant Christmas.

"We had more than one Christmas tree and angels everywhere," her brother said.

"She loved watching us put up the decorations. There was one ornament with two angels dancing that she wouldn't let us put away. She kept it on her dresser."

One thing that kept her going in recent months was the desire to fulfill a wish for her daughter, Nicole.

Nicole had always wanted to have a mother-daughter picture and made plans to have a professional photograph taken. Pain medication made Ms. Sideratos look bloated, so she stopped taking it just to look good in the photograph - even though doing so made her pain excruciating.

"She was so excited about having that picture taken," Crill said, "I think that was one of the things that really kept her holding on. Unfortunately, time ran out and she never had the opportunity to have it done."

Besides her brother and daughter, Ms. Sideratos is survived by her son Alex, parents William and Nan Crill, brother Mike Crill and sister Kelly Jacobsz.

[Last modified February 15, 2007, 07:39:17]

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