Liberty Township mom honored today during breast cancer awareness event
Jen Anderson dotes on her two young daughters.
The Lakota High School and Miami University graduate earlier this year wanted to remember her youngest, Greta, as a baby. She also wanted to remember how her 4-year-old, Maren, described the most random of events in her life as “the best, ever.”
The Liberty Township woman had to document it, so she jotted down a few quick posts on her WordPress blog, andersonfamilyzoo.wordpress.com. She detailed what she loved most about her “normal” life.
Three months went by before Anderson wrote a much longer post this March. She blogged about being at the doctor’s office, about being told that she had breast cancer and about how her hair was going to fall out due to future chemotherapy treatment.
“It was very surreal. I couldn’t believe that I was normal five minutes ago and now I have such bad cancer that the doctor is crying,” Anderson said.
The community wants to honor Anderson – who played volleyball at the old Lakota High School and was an assistant coach at Lakota West and Sycamore. She has been invited to perform the coin toss today during Lakota West’s varsity volleyball match in connection with the school’s annual Volley for the Cure event, which has raised more than $40,000 in the past five years for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
Events like these, which occur throughout the year but particularly during Breast Cancer Awareness month in October, play a role in helping people like Anderson survive and continue their lives.
“My cancer was so advanced that they threw every tool in the toolbox at it,” she said. “Every single one of those tools were available because other women, who have been diagnosed, have come before me and because of the research dollars that have gone into looking at so many avenues.
“I truly believe without every single component in that gauntlet, my cancer would have been a death sentence.”
Lakota West’s Volley for the Cure will feature free games, prizes, music, raffles, silent auctions, mystery boxes, split the pot, a quilt raffle and other activities that will be held before, during and after volleyball matches.
In addition, staff from the Atrium Medical Center in Middletown will be on hand to answer any questions about breast cancer and on how to help increase breast cancer awareness.
The matches will begin at 4:30 p.m. with the freshman game. The junior varsity will play at 5:30 p.m., the faculty at 6:30 p.m. and the varsity at 7:30 p.m.
The games are a sign some normality is returning to Anderson, who went from stay-at-home mom to what she called a “Resident Badass Cancer Fighter.”
“Since the diagnosis, the little moments mattered that much more because they might be your last – every moment might be your last moment, every day might be your last day. That is how I am trying to live because it allows yourself to be your best self every single day.”
Using her family as motivation, Anderson was able to push though learning that her mother, Roz Mathie, also had breast cancer. Anderson endured six months of chemotherapy at Christ Hospital, countless doctor appointments and a double mastectomy on Aug. 30 at Good Samaritan Hospital. Today, she has no detectable cancer.
“It is truly a miracle and a testimony to the medical technology out there, as well as a testimony to God’s grace,” Anderson said.
Anderson is living each day to the fullest – a credo that she shares frequently on her blog and recently in person with the Lakota West volleyball team.
“I love that I was able to speak to the team and be a positive woman role model for them,” she said.
“Cancer is a side note. I want them to be proactive about their own breast health, but I also want them to be strong, smart, independent women. I feel like that is where you have to start.”