Jennifer Goodman Linn You Fearless

An Honor That I Wish I Hadn’t Gotten

Although I don't talk about it often, I have received dozens of emails and phone calls from cancer patients around the country who have read my blog or heard about Spin4Survival. When Dave and I were in Redbook this past December, a number of people reached out to me who had had similar experiences with cancer or were just grateful to hear about someone who was living with the disease and refused to become a victim of it.

I received an email this past January from a woman my age who was also suffering from sarcoma. She was a private person and did not care to share her cancer with many people. She joked to me that "Unfortunately, we have this pesky ‘sarcoma’ thing in common."

She shared wth me her experiences and her frustrations. "Everything is just different now and will be for the rest of my life. I still wake up some mornings, feel my bald head and go, “IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING????? TO ME???” And each morning I am sobered by the sad reality that yes, it is."

Although I was sad to hear about her diagnosis, I was flattered to hear that reading about my journey had helped her. She wrote, "It is kind of a fluke that I learned about your story. I was waiting at the pharmacy to pick up a prescription and a Redbook magazine was sitting out of place on the counter. I have never looked at a Redbook magazine before in my life. I picked up the magazine to pass the time and turned directly to the “How She Does It” expose featuring you and your husband. The word Sarcoma leaped off the page at me. I purchased the magazine and started visiting your website. As you know, Sarcoma’s are relatively rare and I have found comfort in the fact that another young, vibrant, type-A, ‘world on a string kind of a person’ is also going through this.Thanks again for sharing your story so openly, Jen. As I said earlier, you have truly helped (and inspired) me. "

Although we only communicated once in a while, I was glad to hear that my words were reaching her and helping her.

I received a voice message about 2 weeks ago from a man whose name I did not recognize. However, something in the tone of the call made me immediately call back. This man was the husband of the woman I had been communicating with. He called to let me know that unfortunately she had passed away earlier that week. The tumors had spread to her lungs and there was nothing that the doctors could do.

I was so upset to hear this news. I often choose to forget that 50% of patients who have sarcoma die which makes it all the more difficult to process when someone I know passes away. One of the wonderful things about cancer is meeting so many amazing people...and one of the most challenging things about cancer is that you are constantly reminded that this disease kills so many.

The man told me that because his wife found so much strength in my words, she had requested that any donations that family and friends wanted to make be sent to Spin4Survival. He told me that she took great comfort in the fact that Dave and I were aggressively raising money to stamp out this disease. Wow...what a tribute!

I promised him that I would continue to fight and raise money for this disease in the hopes that more people can survive.

It seems fitting that this week the Spin4Survival plaque was put up in the chemotherapy clinic at MSKCC. Although the plaque thanks Dave and me for all of our work on Spin4Survival, it truly is a reminder of the thousands of people who donate funds and join together every January to fight for a cure. When I visit that plaque every Friday when I get chemo, I am reminded about all of the people who died because the medicines and drugs could not treat the disease. It propels me to keep fighting my own battle and to continue to donate my time and energy putting an end to sarcoma.