I want to help
“All I know, is that I want to volunteer and help kids who have cancer.”
Jess Kennedy, 25, of Minnetonka, Minn. has been volunteering at the Children’s Cancer Research Fund office since August, 2012, weeks after receiving a bone marrow transplant for twice-relapsed leukemia.
When we asked Jess when she was diagnosed, she said, “Which time?”
Because at age 25, Jess has been diagnosed with cancer three times. Three.
Her first diagnosis was at age 19, a sophomore in college at University of Colorado - Boulder. Forced to withdraw from classes and college life, Jess returned home to Minnesota and was treated with a standard 2 ½ year regimen of chemotherapy. She enthusiastically returned to Colorado for school and resumed classes. Jess graduated with a degree in biochemistry and settled into her new home state of Colorado.
Only to relapse again. This time, Jess received a stem cell transplant, cells donated from her older brother, in 2011 while living in Denver, Colo. When she was diagnosed the third time, in March 2012, Jess came home to Minnesota and received care from the renowned pediatric BMT team at University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital. The transplant was rough, but Jess has her sights set making it past Day 100, a critical point in transplant recovery, when she’s able to head back to Colorado to re-start her life, once again.
Jess isn’t quite sure what her future holds in the short term. She may take up Spanish classes, take ski lessons after years of snowboarding. She says she wants to “just live life” for awhile. The only thing that’s certain is that she wants to give back. She wants to devote time to volunteering and supporting kids with cancer.
That’s what brought her to Children’s Cancer Research Fund. She worked in the office once or twice per week for the past couple of months, handling administrative tasks & miscellaneous projects critical to our mission.
Thank you for sharing your time, talents and story with us Jess!