Today, I have the pleasure of introducing you to one of the strongest and most inspiring women I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing, Miss Jenn Andrews. Five years ago, she received a surprise diagnosis that changed the trajectory of her life forever. But, even in the wake of such heavy news, Jenn refused to sit idly by. Through her fight, she saw a need that no one else was filling. This led her and her husband, Miles, to launch their nonprofit, Move for Jenn. So today, we are going to dive into the power of using what could be seen as tragedy and turning it into triumph as well as diving into the ins and outs of establishing and running a non profit. So without further ado, welcome to the show, Jenn!
In 2014 while she was getting a pedicure, Jenn noticed a pea sized nodule on her foot while she was pregnant with her first child. A little over a year later, when she was pregnant with her second, it grew to the size of a golf ball. She went to her dermatologist to have the nodule removed and, at what she thought was a routine follow up visit, was blindsided with a diagnosis of sarcoma. This particular type of cancer was very rare and would not respond to chemo or radiation. If the cancer were to spread, it would go straight to her lungs which would most likely take her life. Jenn continued to go in for frequent scans and was in remission for three years. The cancer did eventually come back as a 3 mm layer over her entire right foot. If she wanted to be there to see her kids grow up, amputation was her only option.
“I chose to redirect my thinking from what I was losing to what I wasn’t going to miss out on.”
In 2014, Pea size nodule grew to the size of a golfball, removed 3 months after 2nd child was born, blindsided by a diagnosis with sarcoma, frequent scans, this type of cancer spreads to the lungs, was in remission for three years, scan-ziety, came back as a 3mm layer over whole right foot, chemo wasn’t an option, radiation wasn’t an option. Amputation was the only option. Redirect from what I was losing to what I wasn’t going to miss out on.
Jenn had her right foot and the lower part of her leg amputated on March 12th 2017. Before she went in for surgery, Jenn did a Facebook Live encouraging her friends and family to “move because you can.”
“Mobility is a gift that should never be taken for granted.”
Immediately after surgery, her husband Miles shoved her phone into her hands and said “You need to check Facebook right now.” Hundreds and hundreds of people posted videos and photos using the hashtag #moveforjenn. People who hadn’t moved in years sent her messages saying they were inspired by her and got up and exercised. The overwhelming response pulled Jenn through her recovery.
“You can’t always choose what happens to you but you can control how you react.”
During her recovery, Jenn learned that active wear prosthetics are not covered by insurance and can range from $5,000 to $50,000 out of pocket. And there wasn’t a one-sized-fits-all prosthetic if she wanted to be active. There were running blades, swimming feet, cycling prosthetics, to name a few. And they don’t last forever. Active prosthetics need to be replaced every three to five years. The cost to families is enormous. Jenn decided to do something about it. When she first received her gifted prosthetic, she knew she wanted to share that gift with others. Jenn told her oncologist “I’m not ok now, but I will be. And when I am, I want you to use me as a resource to help your patients.”
Move for Jenn started in May of 2018 and they received their 5013c in February of 2019. So far, they’ve gifted several active wear prosthetics and plan to do even more. Their even bigger goal is to fund sarcoma research. There is currently no cure for sarcoma and the techniques currently being used to treat are over 30 years old.
If you are in the Charlotte area, please join us for the Pajamas All Day 5k on November 2nd! George and I will be there running with our girls and we’d love to have you with us!
To follow Jenn on Instagram, go to:
October 11, 2019