Maggie Eldred, Social Media Manager

Everyone has their own things to cause their day to be bad. Hers just happened to be cancer.

My cousin Jenny was diagnosed with leukemia when I was 9 months old. From that day on my whole family was affected by this terrible disease. It was a wake up call for all of us. With this horrible and quite terrifying diagnosis, our entire family was closer than ever before. It was something we will never forget.

Jenny was a people person. She never wanted to let anyone down and that was why it was so hard for her to let go. As I am sitting here writing, I can feel the lump in my throat start to rise and I now know that this will be harder than I first thought.

Jenny was the role model to rule all role models. She was the one you could call if you were having a terrible day or you won something and she would either help you or congratulate you. She was the most selfless person I knew. Throughout this battle she would put others’ needs ahead of hers. And this is where our learning from her began.

She taught us all so many things. She taught us how to bake, how to put others before yourself, how “life is good”, and so many others, there are too many to name. But the one thing that really stood out to all of us, was how Jenny taught us to live our lives to the fullest no matter what is going on in your life at the time.

When going through chemo along with transplants and many platelet transfusions she never cried. She was the kind of person who did not want pity but wanted to be strong. She knew what the outcome of this was, she knew the whole time. From hearing the three month prognosis to the last day of the ten year fight. She was strong and courageous through it all.

Jenny was strong, fearless, and knew how to have a good time. I always looked forward to family gatherings because I knew she would be there and bring the party with her. She was the one who really brought us all together.

Before she was diagnosed, my family wouldn’t see each other much, according to my mom because I was only nine months old at the time. They would only see each other at certain times.  But as her time grew shorter, I grew up with a family who was always there for me. And in turn, after all of the doctors trial and error with her medicines and surgeries, we were always there for her. Whether it be dinners or just someone to talk to. Family never leaves family. 

We lost Jenny on April 28. 2010. After a long, trying, courageous fight, she had to let go.

When I look back on her life and her as a person, I am in awe. I am speechless. She taught so many people such valuable lessons on how to enjoy their lives and be the best person they could be. I would have to say that saying goodbye to my lifelong role model was something that left a gaping hole in my heart.
Although I have numerous role models in my life today, that hole has not been filled and I believe it will be very hard to refill. Even though Jenny is gone, I still try to live up to her expectation everyday. That being, to be a good person, to put others before myself, and to live my life to the fullest every day. Life is good and that is what we all should strive to live by.