The news came to our family early this year that our daughter Jennifer was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer. That news was devastating to hear – our family’s crushing blow, a parent’s nightmare. Life changed dramatically, a neverending blur of hospitals, tests and chemotherapy treatments taxed Jennifer’s endurance and optimism and her efforts to keep her children living a normal life. Friends and family offered their help and prayers, but we couldn’t begin to wrap our minds around it all, couldn’t put into words just what could possibly be done to help. Couldn’t think beyond survival mode.
As we struggled to accept a new reality, friends were determined to join Jennifer’s fight. What a fight they launched! A committee was formed that organized and worked tirelessly for weeks. Every day we heard reports of the incredible support and caring shown by the people of the local communities that we call home. When the committee reached out on behalf of Jennifer, time and time again the response was, “absolutely,” “of course,” “yes!”
On May 21, an incredible and successful benefit was held for Jennifer. We were overwhelmed and humbled by the caring, concern, and outpouring of support. Caring that continues to amaze us each and every day.
We would like to acknowledge those who made that wonderful day possible. Our thanks and neverending gratitude to our family of friends of the benefit committee: the committee chair, Brenda Drury, who reached out her arms and wrapped them around Jennifer and showed us how friends never let go, Tammy Arneson , Hope Baker, Maggie Baker, Carroll Carlson, Pam Cook-Webb, Terry Donnelly, Diane Dorland, Darcy Friedlund, Paul Kallembach, Kim Knowlton, Debbie and Rick Kohler, Paula and Bob McCall, Jackie Peterson, Cassandra Roach, Darla Roach, Debbie Tyrrell and Chris Vesta. Our love for you has no end.
Also our dear friends Abby Tanner and Courtney and Ray Webber, who provided their time and music all day; Paul Kallembach, auctioneer extraordinaire; our family, who took on the job of preparing the food for the day; Roxanne Seldal, Teresa West, Karen Schmoll and all the family who gladly helped them; Jo Ewing’s scrumptious cupcakes; the friends who volunteered their time to serve and run the many jobs that needed to be done that day – nonstop; KJ’s Tap; Jim Drury and Kim Knowlton, for offering the location, resources, your time and unfailing support throughout; KJ’s business neighbors for your gracious understanding when we “took over” your space for a time; the City of DeKalb, Elliott & Wood, and Waste Management for the cooperation, help and support; McCall’s Printing Express for the tickets and fliers; and the anonymous angel who mowed Jen’s lawn the day of the benefit.
And not at all least, thanks to all who shared that day and donated so generously to the fundraiser. Your encouragement and contributions help lighten the burden and ease Jennifer’s continued fight through this horrible disease. We cannot begin to express the gratitude we feel, but we all have taken away so much more than could ever be put into words. We have been shown the beauty of countless souls, the goodness, the spirit of giving and hope in each and every one of you. Jennifer has a long road ahead, but she is not alone. You are all there with her, with our family, every moment.
Thank you so much!
With heartfelt appreciation,
The Jackson and Hill Families