Thank you for visiting my page! The money that is raised will go directly to the Melanoma Research Foundation and their efforts for a cure. Last May at the MRF Gala, a fund was started in my name to raise money. That night we rasied over $60,000 for the Jenna Fund.
When I was first diagnosed with cancer at 14, I didn’t fully understand the impact it would have on my life. I knew of people who had had cancer and were now fine. I saw it as a speed bump, something that would be over quickly so I could get back to my normal life. In reality, melanoma has taken things from me that I never imagined. For example, my passion for playing sports. The radiation treatments damaged my spinal cord making walking difficult and running impossible. Melanoma has also taken away my ability to be as carefree about things as my peers. My ability to be spontaneous and daring has been severely limited because of the care and conscious effort I now need to put into keeping myself safe and my body healthy. The main thing that melanoma has taken from me though, is the guarantee of my future. While my friends talk about and plan their futures with confidence, I do not share that confidence. I look at my future with less certainty. Something I hope to have, instead of something I expect to happen.
Even though melanoma has taken these things from me, it has also given me a lot. I have an appreciation for life that many other people my age don’t. I look at every day as a blessing and the things that I do, no matter if it’s something I want to do or not, is something I get to do, and am therefore grateful. However, it comes with a great price that I would rather not have to pay. Disease awareness has a great impact on raising funds to find a cure. Looking at breast cancer for example, everywhere you look there are things to buy that support breast cancer. This movement of support has made huge advances in the treatments and prognosis of the disease. I am grateful to the Melanoma Research Foundation for the funding they provide to research for a cure. Although it seems that it is long way off because of the lack of treatments now, I have faith in the new research being done and feel that finding a cure is closer now than ever.
Since my original diagnosis in 2004, I had a recurrence in fall 2008 with a thigh tumor and a small brain metastasis. Those were treated and I was again disease free until Sept. 2009. Multiple liver and bone metastasis along with other thigh tumors came as a shock and I was again put at stage IV. I am currently on a clinical trial in Arizona, traveling down there every couple weeks.