By: Jessie Laney and Karen Adams
From a young age your parents told you about some amazing women doing big things in the world. At the age of 29, I look back at the women who shaped me and impacted my life. From my mom, to teachers and coaches, to even one-time interactions with strangers, they each defined strength to me in their own ways and touched my life. I find myself wishing we celebrated these people more and told their stories.
I was blessed to cross paths with Jen Pagani when I was coaching her sons in summer swimming. This quickly led to Jen becoming my mentor and friend who loved the “real talk” (forget the small talk). We sat and talked about cancer, about what it’s like to have lost my mom to cancer and as her fight became focused on quality of life, we talked about legacy and supporting her two young boys. I strive to make a small impact in carrying on her legacy through my volunteer work with the Go Jen Go Foundation. This amazing foundation was started by Jen and helps to financially support local breast cancer survivors with their day-to day-needs and expenses, the things that become hard to keep up with growing medical bills.
I’ve cherished meeting our grantees and breast cancer survivors over the years. These amazing survivors show us strength and the hope we can give them is an honor. Meeting them is a moment where I get to see Jen shining bright through them.
Last year, at our Run Jen Run 5K, I met Karen Adams, one of our Go Jen Go grantees and a breast cancer survivor. When I walked up to the survivor tent I “felt” Karen. Her joy, hope, energy and her pride in being a survivor shined bright.
In today’s world, we need to lift our fellow women up more and more. We need to share our victories, our struggles and our joys. I asked Karen to share her story because it is one of beauty and hope. Here is her story, written directly by her – because each of us tells our best story. I’m honored that Go Jen Go could be a small piece of it during a time where she needed that extra love and hope.
Meet Karen: My name is Victory!
Hi I’m Karen and I have been married to Daniel for 23 challenging, but wonderful years. We share two beautiful daughters, Kimora (12) and Kierstin (8). I am so blessed to be their mother. I am determined to complete my degree that I had to postpone during my treatment process (I have 8 classes to go). My purpose is to encourage, enlighten, uplift and edify all who I meet! I desire to make a difference in someone’s life, by spreading love and hope!
In June of 2017, I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductile Carcinoma Her2+ and Estrogen +. My treatment consisted of six rounds of chemo, a double mastectomy, oophorectomy, reconstruction, and 5-10 years of Tamoxifen. I am currently experiencing bone pain and lymphedema. However, I am not going to let that stop me, I still have life and love to give!
A friend of mine who has gone through breast cancer (Tosha) told me about the Go Jen Go Foundation! Even being able to work during treatment, the bills kept coming and I couldn’t keep up. My two daughters were affected by my diagnosis and starting to become sad. I asked the foundation to help my girls find some happiness through summer camp and they did! They even provided financial support for household expenses that lifted pressure off my husband. If that wasn’t enough, Go Jen Go sent gifts to me and my girls for Christmas as part of Operation Spread Joy. It was so special that Joe Pagani himself delivered the gifts to our home.
I know it is because of my faith that I am healed and still alive today. It is also a prayer being answered that the Go Jen Go Foundation came into our lives. This organization truly meets the immediate needs of survivors and their families. It is such a blessing and an honor to connect with a great group of people. I wish I had the opportunity to have met Jen, she must have been ONE MIGHTY WARRIOR!
Last year I participated in the Run Jen Run 5K & Festival. I was unable to walk/run that far, but they made a way was made for me to ride in style with Speed for Need. I felt like a celebrity along with the other amazing survivors! I had my own running team – “Team K-Rock”…my husband gave me that name! I have had some happy and exciting moments in my life, I think this was one of the best! Seeing other survivors reminded me that nothing is too hard for God! We are overcomers and nothing can stop us! FAITH is the key, NO MATTER WHAT! ~ KAREN ADAMS #VICTORY / AKA K-ROCK!
More on Go Jen Go & Run Jen Run:
If you’d like to support the Go Jen Go Foundation here are a few opportunities. Sign up for the Run Jen Run 5K & Festival on March 7 at 8 AM, held at Symphony Park – SouthPark. You can donate to their fundraising efforts for the race and they always welcome race day volunteers. Visit www.runjenrun5k.com
To learn more about the Go Jen Go Foundation and Jen Pagani’s legacy, visit www.gojengo.org.
All proceeds will benefit the Go Jen Go Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing critical financial assistance to local individuals and families who are battling breast cancer. We provide aid during diagnosis, treatment and recovery.