A new direction: Finding faith after cancer diagnosis

Published on: January 21, 2021

Finding faith after cancer diagnosis sets woman’s life in new direction


Lithia resident Jacky Costello is a very busy woman. She’s a wife, mother and business owner who grew up in East Germany, survived a life-threatening cancer diagnosis and is now sharing her story of growing up in Germany, moving to the United States, finding her faith and becoming an entrepreneur and published author.

COURTESY PHOTO Lithia resident Jacky Costello, 38, is the founder and owner of Custom Cleanups LLC. She’s a wife, mother and cancer survivor who recently wrote a book sharing her story of growing up in Germany, facing her health crisis and moving to the United States, where she found faith in God and became an entrepreneur.

Her book, How Far I Have Risen: Coming Clean About Cancer, God and My American Dream (published Feb. 24, 2020) was written to inspire others, especially those who are battling cancer. Her own ordeal led her to become one of 1,200 cleaning partners throughout the country who are part of the nonprofit organization Cleaning for a Reason and provide free cleaning services to anyone with the disease.

“I wrote my book to share my story in the hope of being helpful to people with cancer and other challenges, especially women, and to encourage them to keep their faith in God, to keep pushing and never give up,” said Costello, 38. “It’s an inspirational, motivational story.”

In 2013, she learned she had cervical cancer, which fortunately the doctors were able to remove entirely. But the realization that she could lose everything took a huge toll on her – both mentally and physically.

A new-found faith got her through the experience.

“I was never a believer until I moved to the U.S. and a friend introduced me to God and her church,” Costello said. “I really think finding the Lord helped me with the healing process after cancer, including my need to accept I could never have more children.”

When Costello emigrated from Stuttgart, Germany, in 2014, she brought with her years of experience in the hospitality industry and began cleaning houses to supplement her husband Wes’ income. Her services were so well received that she became inundated with more and more requests from prospective customers.

In May 2016, Costello founded Custom Cleanups LLC, a locally owned, independent company providing custom cleaning services tailored to each client’s individual needs. Her services are offered weekly, bi-weekly and monthly or for one-time jobs and move-related cleanups. Her service area covers all of Hillsborough County, and she has many clients in Riverview, Balm, the communities of South Shore and Sun City Center.

Free estimates are provided for all services, and all of Costello’s employees follow CDC guidelines.

For more information, visit or Folks without internet service can call 813-455-2803.

How Far I Have Risen: Coming Clean About Cancer, God and My American Dream is available in paperback or eBook through Amazon or via a link at

And anyone affected by cancer can learn more about and apply for free house cleaning services at