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Old Apr 22nd, 2003, 06:03 AM   #1
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The Trials and Tribulations of Helen Kelesi

A few days back, I was up late, and this show came on TSN (Canadian sports network, if you don't know) called TSN Profiles. Anyway, they were profiling Helen Kelesi, interviewing her, her father, a former Fed cup captain for Canada, etcetera, etcetera. Very compelling stuff. Anyway, I did not realize the grave extent of Helen's health problems. She has suffered NUMEROUS brain tumours, she had to have her forehead removed! Yes, that's right, her forehead was removed. She has a synthetic one now. Also, she has permanently lost her sense of smell from all the operations, and has suffered much damage to her eyesight over the years. It's just truly horrible what has befallen her. They said that the first tumour she had removed (in 1994) had been growing inside of her for about TWELVE YEARS. She played every single pro tennis match of her life with a brain tumour. The doctors said they did not know how she was able to function. Her long-term health is still in doubt, and she's only 34.

Oh, if you don't know who Helen Kelesi is, she was Canada's best player for about four or five years towards the late 80s and early 90s. her ranking peaked in the top 15 (i think, not sure if she ever cracked the top ten), and she made the QF of the French Open a time or two, I think. So yeah, did anybody else see this special on her, or am I the only one? It was on at some ungodly hour, so i would not be surprised if i was.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2003, 06:40 AM   #2
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Yes, Helen went through very difficult times. And after her first surgery, when a tumor the size of a grapefruit was removed from her head, she even attempted a comeback playing some ITF events. Her family life was also rather tumultuous. I met Helen's estranged mother who used to give tennis lessons in Stanley Park in Vancouver. Unfortunately, she was an alcoholic and that was probably the reason she lived separately from her husband and daughter. I don't even know what happened to her as she disappeared from the local tennis scene some time ago. Helen, on the other hand, tried different things when she retired from tennis. I know she went to college to get education in hotel management. She wrote a column in North Shore News, a North Vancouver community newspaper. She also worked as a tennis commentator for TSN during the Canadian Open a few years back. I don't even know what she is doing now as I have lost track of her. I suspect she still lives in Vancouver.

Last edited by Lelu : Apr 22nd, 2003 at 07:03 AM.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2003, 06:49 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Lelu
Yes, Helen went through very difficult times. And after her first surgery, when a tumor the size of a grapefruit was removed from her head, she even attempted a comeback playing some ITF events. Her family life was also rather tumultuous. I met Helen's estranged mother who used to give tennis lessons in Stanley Park in Vancouver. Unfortunately, she was an alcoholic and that was probably the reason she lived separately from her husband and daughter. I don't even know to happened to her as she disappeared from the local tennis scene some time ago. Helen, on the other hand, tried different things when she retired from tennis. I know she went to college to get education in hotel management. She wrote a column in North Shore News, a North Vancouver community newspaper. She also worked as a tennis commentator for TSN during the Canadian Open a few years back. I don't even know what she is doing now as I have lost track of her. I suspect she still lives in Vancouver.
I remember her commentating stint.

I remember she said something about working with younger players, so I gather she's doing some coaching on the side.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2003, 11:17 AM   #4
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i remember kelesi and all her extreme health problems. she's remarkable! what is the connection that kelesi has to seles? i can't remember exactly but i believe that seles got quite emotional when kelesi's name came up in an interview when seles returned in '95. any recollections?
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Old Apr 22nd, 2003, 11:20 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by doloresc
i remember kelesi and all her extreme health problems. she's remarkable! what is the connection that kelesi has to seles? i can't remember exactly but i believe that seles got quite emotional when kelesi's name came up in an interview when seles returned in '95. any recollections?
Hmmm, they probably hated each other. LOL. Helen had a way of making enemies.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2003, 12:12 PM   #6
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Wow..thanks for the info. I knew Helen had had health problems, but I wasnt aware they were to that extent!

I remember Helen particularly for her no nonsense attitude. If people think Capriati had a foul mouth, even Jen would have blushed if she'd been on court with Helen in full verbal assault!

Incredible that she played as a pro all that time with a brain tumour and never even knew...
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Old Apr 22nd, 2003, 12:13 PM   #7
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Didn't another Canadian player Jeyaseelan have a brain tumor?
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Old Apr 22nd, 2003, 01:28 PM   #8
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Yes Jeyaseelan did have a tumor but only took a few months off.

Helen right now is currently living in Saskatoon Saskatchewan where she helps coach young kids, not sure what else she is doing.

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Old Apr 22nd, 2003, 11:09 PM   #9
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Didn't another Canadian player Jeyaseelan have a brain tumor?
Was it a tumour Sonja had? I thought she had a couple of large cysts behind her eyes. Something like that .... it was very serious, but I don't think she's in the peril Helen is.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2003, 11:54 PM   #10
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I always get mixed up with Helen Kelesi and Helen Keller.

And Monica and Helen um... Kelesi? had a big bitch out session.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2003, 11:56 PM   #11
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I always get mixed up with Helen Kelesi and Helen Keller.

And Monica and Helen um... Kelesi? had a big bitch out session.
I didnt mean to say that I meant to say had a big bitch out session I was once told. I dhhunno how to edit my messeage.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2003, 11:59 PM   #12
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Helen won the Italian Open Doubles 1990 with Monica Seles......
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Old Apr 23rd, 2003, 12:01 AM   #13
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Helen won the Italian Open Doubles 1990 with Monica Seles......
Doubles partners can have fights sometimes you know! Or so I've heard. It can be frustrating.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2003, 12:47 AM   #14
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Doubles partners can have fights sometimes you know! Or so I've heard. It can be frustrating.
Yes, I've heard that too. Can't understand it myself!

It's scary that Helen went all that time without knowing she had the tumors, you'd assume that with all the medical checks players have that someone would have picked it up while she was playing.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2003, 01:29 AM   #15
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I think Monica ended her doubles with Helen, which really pissed Helen off. Monica wrote in her book that when they played at the 1992 French Open (which Monica barely won) she thought that Helen was motivated by their falling out.
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