I recently got an e-mail from Jen, who walks in the Tampa 3-Day, about how many blessings cancer has given her. Yes, you read the right. She's 32, has fought breast cancer twice and believes cancer has blessed her ...

"It was the best gift I have ever been given. I woke up to life!" she wrote. "I went through so many medical procedures and live day in and out with the anxiety of whether the disease will return, but I LIVE! Let me focus on my LIFE by telling you what breast cancer gave me!"

She was diagnosed the week she turned 25 and then again when she was 27. She opened her heart to adoption after her second diagnosis led to a hysterectomy, and now has two sons, Kaleb and Chase.

She also found the 3 Day after her second diagnosis - after her family found it first. She said her family walked in Tampa as she was finishing up treatment for her recurrence, so she went to closing ceremonies. When she got home, she signed up to walk the following year, and this year is her third event. She calls it the three most inspiring, uplifting days of the year.

"I can't explain the feelings that kind of take over my heart, my soul, when taking part in the event," she wrote. "I tell people the only way they are going to understand is to experience it themselves. There is no way to justify just how good you can feel about what you are doing in the this life, than to get involved in charity work."

I can second that. It's hard to explain the 3-Day to someone who hasn't been to it. And even then, sometimes you actually have to DO IT to understand the dedication and emotion you see at the opening and closing ceremonies. I remember wondering how so many people could be so touched by slogans and seemingly unrealistic goals (walking 60 miles to end breast cancer? probably going to take more than a walk to do that, ladies) but before long, I realized that the 3-Day is about so much more than 3 days of walking.

For example, one can't change the facts that they had breast cancer and that it could return, but they can decide how they are going to live the life they have. Thanks for your e-mail, Jen. I love your attitude, and hope my life can always be as full as yours seems to be :)

To share your own motivational stories, e-mail me at jillianduch@hotmail.com
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2 Responses
  1. Anonymous Says:

    My name is Becky and I am Jen's aunt. I just wanted to comment on Jen's testimony and tell everyone what a wonderful woman she is and how much she has done to help other woman who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. She has fought this disease twice in her short life and it has changed her life forever. I am amazed at how much she has to give and how this has changed all of our lives. I have done the 3 day 2 years in a row and this will be my 3rd. Along with Jen, her dad Ron and mom Dixie, myself and many friends will walk. We are so excited to experience this walk once again and to be there for Jen and all the other woman who have had and have and will have this disease. It is a life changing experience and everyone should do this at least once. Because of breast cancer Jen had a hysterectomy at 27 so was unable to have children. Jen and her husband Kevin were fortunate to be able to adopt and now have 2 beautiful little boys who have blessed them as well as all our family beyond belief. I just want to say how proud of you I am Jen and how much I love you!

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Jen is such an inspiration. Though I have not seen her in years we were the best of friends as teenagers and I am absolutely so proud of her. Great job fighting Jen. You have my support!