It’s not unusual to lose sight of a goal when obstacles get in the way. But Jennifer wasn’t going to let anything—not even leukemia—keep her from achieving her dream.
Before being diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, Jennifer says she didn’t feel quite right. “I started feeling out of breath on a jog, but it was different than feeling out of shape,” she explains. “It got to the point where I couldn’t stand up for a long time without feeling lightheaded.” After doctors ruled out a few possible causes, her blood was drawn. “My white blood cell count was about 400 times what it was supposed to be and they knew right away it was leukemia,” she says.
Discussing treatment options, the doctor told Jennifer that while chemotherapy aimed for remission, a blood stem cell transplant aimed for a cure.
Jennifer felt extremely lucky to find her perfect donor match on the Be The Match Registry®.
Jennifer says it was celebrating the small wins that kept her going. Amazingly, just six months after her transplant, she was going on strenuous hikes. Soon after she was learning how to code, landing her first job as a software engineer. Even with all of these accomplishments, there was still one milestone Jennifer had yet to achieve: making the San Francisco 49ers Gold Rush cheerleading team.
“Dancing was one of my biggest passions growing up,” she shares. “I think one of the hardest parts with survivorship was the idea of losing that in my life.” After losing muscle mass and flexibility, Jennifer struggled to get back into the studio. Eventually with practice and perseverance, she showed leukemia who was boss and made the team. “Gold Rush was my way to prove to myself that leukemia wasn’t going to stop me from dancing,” she says.
Paying it forward
After being cured of cancer and achieving a life-long dream, Jennifer and her husband, Colton, felt compelled to give back—so that more patients could receive the same cure and promise of a future. Supporting Be The Match® was important not only because Jennifer found her donor through the registry, but because of the support and a financial grant she received from Be The Match to help cover the costs due to transplant.
“I don’t really know how patients would be able to survive and afford just the basics like food and transportation costs,” she says. “When I received the grant, I knew I definitely wanted to pay this forward so other patients have the same opportunity that helped us out so much.”
Jennifer and Colton decided the best way for them to make a difference was through a monthly gift. They have been helping to support patients for more than 3 years.
When you join the Be The Match monthly giving program, you’re supporting patients like Jennifer all year long. From growing the registry to providing financial relief, monthly givers provide the most reliable support to patients in need.
Sign up today online or call 1-800-507-5427.