A Tribute to Jennifer Colladay
Jennifer was a soft, gentle, kind-hearted woman with the most beautiful smile that I've ever seen. She was a loving, caring, WONDERFUL, special, AMAZING (I could go on & on) daughter, sister, wife, mother, aunt, grandmother, friend & Earthly Angel. She was a caretaker in everything she did. From caring for her three younger siblings, to raising two children of her own (as well as our childhood friends), to teaching elementary school, to counseling university students with their own problems.... No matter what stage of her life, no matter who it was, caretaker was always her primary role. She ALWAYS put everyone else's needs before her own, but unlike a lot of us, my mom didn't mind. It just came naturally to her. My mother has touched and enhanced SO many lives, has blessed this earth by her presence, and the world is a MUCH better place because of her.
"I am fooling only myself when I say my mother exists now only in the photograph on my bulletin board or in the outline of my hand or in the armful of memories I still hold tight. She lives on in everything I do. Her presence influenced who I was, and her absence influences who I am. Our lives are shaped as much by those who leave us as they are by those who stay. Loss is our legacy. Insight is our gift. Memory is our guide." -Hope Edelman
The Sarcoma Journey
On, October 31, 2007, my beautiful (extremely healthy) mother was unexpectedly diagnosed with Stage 4 Uterine Sarcoma with "undifferentiated cells." My family quickly learned that life as we knew it would never be the same, and instantly our lives were turned upside-down. My mother had battled uterine fibroids for more than 20 years and had been told by her gynecologist, as well as many other physicians, that fibroids were never cancerous and that they'd shrink after menopause. How WRONG they were!! Her fibroids quickly grew overnight in the summer of 2007, and, after a "routine" hysterectomy, we learned that the fibroids themselves not only were cancerous, but they had developed into a very rare and aggressive form of cancer - SARCOMA!!! Sarcoma affects only 1% of adults and is something I never thought would happen to my family, let alone MY mother. Unfortunately, that mere 1% DID happen to my family and DID happen to my mother! My mother's faith was strong as she battled the bravest, most intense fight I've ever witnessed. But I'm heartbroken to say that she lost her battle on June 6, 2008, when our glorious God so lovingly carried her Home.
I not only want to share and educate as many people as possible about this very rare form of cancer in the hopes of finding a cure, but I also feel led by the Lord to share with you my mother's story and the way in which our faith has carried us through this very dark and lonely tunnel. As I witnessed the most painful and heartbreaking moment of my life, as my mother took her very last breath here on earth, I also witnessed the most beautiful moment I've ever seen...the Lord carrying her home and freeing her from her pain and suffering. There are no words to describe the look on my mother's face at that very moment, other than to say, I caught a glimpse of Heaven as she saw Jesus face to face. Our glorious God has continued to carry my family and I through the days (and past three years) to follow, and although the pain in our hearts will never hurt any less, we are comforted in knowing we'll all be together again some Glorious Day.
Donate in Jennifer's Memory
To make an online donation in Jennifer's memory: During the donation process, click on the blue "dedicate this donation" link and type Jennifer's name before clicking on the large blue "proceed" button.
Today, thousands of sarcoma patients are hoping for more effective treatments that will save their lives - and the quality of their lives. But most government funds are used for research into more well-known cancers, leaving sarcoma patients with fewer treatment options. The Team Sarcoma Initiative increases awareness of sarcoma and the need for sarcoma-specific research. The Initiative bridges the gap between concerned individuals and the research that can save and improve lives.
Thank you all for your continued love and support. "Together we can make a difference. Together we can find a cure!"
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