Help Jenn Byers FOCUS the FIGHT on Cancer!
Team Member: Stephen Hart
EVENT DATE Jan 30, 2016
DAVID GARRETT wrote -
On Thursday December 3rd, 2015, Jenn Byers my wife and best friend of 18+ years had her world turned upside down. At the age of 42, the young vibrant mother of our four sons was diagnosed with stage 3 colorectal cancer. To say we were blindsided would be an understatement. We spent the weekend trying to digest the situation and hanging on to the hope that when the biopsy results came back the Doctor would be wrong. Five agonizing days later the Doctor called and confirmed her diagnosis, it was in fact cancer. Jenn had to call me and tell me the news over the phone; I had never felt so hopeless in all my life. When I arrived home I hugged her and held her close and assured her I would do everything in my power to make sure she had the best of everything, and make sure she would beat cancer's ass. In true fashion she never shed a tear, looked at me and said “I know, I am only worried about you and the boys, and I don’t want cancer to destroy the life we have worked so hard to build together." In her amazingly strong selfless style she was worried about us when she had just been told she would have to fight to save her own life.
Over the next few weeks we had more than a dozen Doctor’s appointments with Oncology, Radiology, Surgeon's etc. Finally, a few days before Christmas her treatment plan was in place. She decided to start on December 28th, 2015; again being selfless she wanted the boys to enjoy Christmas without seeing her sick from the chemo. We also decided to wait and tell our sons about her diagnosis until after Christmas. As we sat the two youngest boys down at the kitchen table I could barely summon the words, I had struggled all week with what to say. After composing myself I explained to the boys what was going on, and outlined the plan of attack as to how she was going to fight this disease. Once again while I was a mess, Jenn comforted the boys without shedding a tear. I have never been so amazed by the strength of the human spirit as I have been watching my wife cope with her Cancer diagnosis. There is a quote that describes Jenn and her outlook on her cancer fight “You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have!”
On December 28th 2015 Jenn began a marathon treatment plan that will last for more than 42 weeks. She is currently undergoing six weeks of aggressive chemotherapy and radiation, which we travel to Monday through Friday. The entire trip with treatment is two and a half hours each morning before she returns home and starts her work day. Jenn’s entire treatment process will span the next ten+ months, and will include designated periods of recovery followed surgery, an additional recovery period before starting a final 24 week cycle of high dose chemotherapy. Though the Journey ahead will be long and the going often tough I have vowed to her that I will be at her side each step of the way, and that together we will fight through the bad days, so that together someday soon we will get to share the best days of our lives.
To many of you Jenn is a loyal co-worker, a true friend or a loving relative. But to me she is a once in a lifetime true love of my life and my best friend. To my sons she is a rock, the foundation and glue that keeps our entire family together. What many of you don't know is she is the strongest women I have ever known, she is selfless and tireless in her giving to others. Has and always will put others needs and wants before her own. Prior to her cancer diagnosis, Jenn had already unfairly endured more tragedy in her life than one soul should ever have to bear. When she was diagnosed my first thought was of all the people in the world no one deserves this less than her. Throughout this entire ordeal Jenn has been an inspiration. She has hidden her pain and all the side effects of the chemo and radiation from our sons, as she doesn't want them to worry. She has continued to work every day without missing a minute of time. I have watched her suffer debilitating pain from the radiation, pain she has described to me as worse than childbirth. And all the while she has only worried about and shed a tear over one thing, the unfortunate financial impact of Cancer. No one plans to get sick, and no one budgets for Cancer. So the costs associated with her Cancer have blindsided us. Like most young couples we started off with nothing almost two decades ago and together built the life we have today. Jenn is terrified at the thought of us being overwhelmed with medical debt and having it affect our credit rating that we have fought so hard to build. From the beginning we were urged by Doctors and medical staff to start an online fundraiser so we would not have to worry about the financial side of things, and we could focus solely on Jenns treatment. During our lives together I have always protected Jenn and our boys from everyone and everything, and I have always taken great pride in that. However Cancer has taken this ability away from me. Jenn’s worst fear is coming true and two months into this journey the bills have begun to pile up. And while we have insurance our deductibles are extremely high. And since her diagnosis was in 2015 we have had to satisfy our 2015 deductibles, and start again on January 1st to satisfy our 2016 deductible. Along with prescription copays, transportation and various other uncovered costs things have begun to add up quickly and her fight for a cure has only just begun. The last thing I need is to allow money to divert Jenn’s focus away from fighting cancer and staying on the road to a cure. As a man and husband I have to follow a dear friend’s advice and put my pride aside and allow all of those people who know Jenn, and even those that don’t to lend their support and rally around her in her time of need and show her just how many people are in her corner.
As a couple Jenn and I have always been a pay it forward type of couple. For more than 15 years we have supported St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and multiple Veterans organizations. We both volunteer and give countless hours of our time to our community. One of our sons is actively serving our country in the Army as a medic. We have always been givers, and champions of those less fortunate. In our 18 years together we have never even taken a vacation alone as a couple, as we have always put our children and others needs before our own. So we find ourselves in unfamiliar territory, and never honestly thought for a minute we would be the ones in need of help. So with fatherly pride put aside I ask those of you that can please find it in your heart to take the time and donate to aid Jenn in her fight for a cure. Crowdrise assures me it takes less than a minute to donate. It is my sincere hope this fund will allow her to FOCUS solely on fighting cancer and not the costs associated with it. I also ask that if you can please post the link on your social media pages, or email the link to a friend. I have been told that when you donate please select the word GIFT, this will further insure that Jenn will not be responsible for taxes on your generous donation.
Cancer may have started this fight but I have no doubt that with your help Jenn will finish it, and kick cancers ass! I wish to thank you all in advance for your time and your donations in helping my wife and best friend in her time of need. I leave you with a quote Jenn and I love and have always lived by “You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” I wish you all Godspeed.