A Tribute to Jennifer Colladay

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." JenniferMy 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.

Jennifer

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

Donate Now

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!"

If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation in Jennifer's memory, please consider donating by check, as checks incur no processing fees. To donate securely online with a 4.9% processing fee, use the "donate now" button.

Sign Jennifer's Family's Guestbook

Signatures in the Guestbook will appear here. Please share your thoughts!

Kathy (Lombard) White 06/08/2011 07:38 pm
Thank you for sharing your tribute to your mom. It is a beautiful tribute for a beautiful woman. And Nikki you are also a awesome and beautiful tribute for your mom. She taught you well love, caring, patience and you are her angel on earth.
Tom Colladay 06/08/2011 05:36 pm
Nikki has offered a truly heart felt tribute to her mother and my wife, Jennifer. Jennifer was truly a loving and caring person. She loved so many people, and especially her grandchildren, and that love and affection would always come flowing back to her in deserving recognition. Her faith was strong, and she believed in doing unto others as she would have them do unto her. Jennifer was a deeply caring and loving wife for all of the twenty years that we were married. Some said that we were like two peas in a pod, given that we so enjoyed sharing life together and being always together. Fortunately for me, Jennifer is still with me. She goes with me wherever I go and her presence is actual and real in a manner that is not explainable. She left me a note that states, "Your loved one is closer than you think." Indeed, that is so very true. Her influence on the lives of others continues to this day. She and I were both members of the faculty at Ferris State University. Jennifer was a personal counselor and I, an associate dean and a dean for student academic affairs. We were both devoted to the students we served. Jennifer's counseling abilities and her concern for troubled students brought both comfort and direction to these young adults at a critical time in their lives. Jennifer and I both looked forward to retirement after she had devoted 22 years of service to the University beside my 37 years. We both looked forward to new shared adventures in life. Upon retirement, we moved to Tellico Village just south of Knoxville, Tennessee, built a new house, made new friends and looked forward to years of happy retirement together. Unfortunately, after only 20 months of such bliss, and during an ellective surgery procedure, it was determined that Jennifer had cancer in a uterine fibroid and uterine sarcoma as a consequence. Like so many other women, Jennifer had been repeatedly told fibroids of the uterus are always benign and will shrink with time - just live with them. After 8 months of chemotherapy, and seemingly progressing successfully toward remission, Jennifer's condition suddenly and unexpectedly took a serious turn for the worse, and in only four days she passed over to the other side to be with the Lord. It was such a devastating time for the family and myself and all who loved her - and to know her was to love her! We deeply miss her presence. She will always live in our minds and hearts. Now we must do as she would wish and support the fight to fund the research to find a cure for this rare, but deadly cancer. I would ask that all who read this make the determination to help in the fight by supporting the upcoming marathon run of my dear "daughter" Nikki, as she does her part in loving memory of her dear mother, Jennifer Colladay. Let us all do our part!
Nikki 06/08/2011 05:13 pm
Thank you Mary (and Bruce & Bev) for helping us & SO many others and thank you for ALL you do to help raise awareness & funds for Sarcoma Research. Without your dedication & HUGE hearts, I wouldn't know where to turn~~Thanks to you, the awesome tribute page is a wonderful way to honor our loved one & help us heal. God bless you ALL!!!
Mary 06/08/2011 12:59 pm
Thank you for sharing this beautiful tribute!