Single mother Jennifer Kennedy has heard,” you have cancer,” more than once in her life.She was first told in 1997, and now, for the fourth time, she is on the fight to get rid of her cancer once again. “My world turned upside down,” she said. “Before all of this, I was trying to start my own business. Now, literally, everything just stopped.” Kennedy was first diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 32 and was in remission for 19 years before cancer returned. In 2017, she was told she had non-Hodgkin lymphoma, cancer that occurs in the lymphatic system due to the body producing too many white blood cells. Then, this summer, Kennedy was told her breast cancer had returned, but this time at stage four. “In 2018, I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, which means it spread throughout my body like in my lymph nodes, brain and my spine,” she said. She had also complained of a backache, which doctors found out stemmed from a tumor that fractured her spine as a result of the fast-spreading cancer. At this time, Kennedy is undergoing physical therapy and receives home visits from nurses. Soon, she will start radiation treatment and then chemotherapy for the rest of her life, she added. With an ongoing battle against cancer, she has had to remain unemployed, making everyday life a lot harder. “I’m unemployed so trying to manage my everyday expenses like food, rent and medical bills has been challenging,” she said. Kennedy has relied heavily on her mother, “her angel,” who moved indefinitely from New Jersey to help her with basic tasks like bathing, grocery shopping and taking Kennedy’s 17-year-old daughter to and from places. Kennedy’s mother has not been the only one supporting the small family during these times. “The community has been unbelievable,” she said. Several Santa Clarita Valley residents have already reached out to her offering donations and organizing fundraisers. Among them are locals Fred Arnold and Marcy James, who have organized “Wine on the Lake,” an event at Arnold’s home where all funds will go to help support Kennedy. “When we hear someone’s in need, it’s one thing to be on social media and hit a ‘like’ button,” James said. “It’s another to do something. When you hear a cry for help it’s our responsibility to do something.” Arnold added that he wants to encourage the community, whether they know Kennedy or not, to attend and meet “like-minded people that want to give someone help and compassion during challenging times.” Kennedy has also received donations from Survival of the Fittest, a Valencia gym, and Circle of Hope, a nonprofit organization providing assistance to those battling cancer.
How to help:
Wine on the Lake: The wine, appetizers, desserts and entertainment event is scheduled to take place from 6-9 p.m. on Saturday, August 18 at 2927 Lakeside Rd. in Valencia. There is a $50 per person fee and sponsorships are available at $250. To RVP, contact Angie B. at (661) 505-4307, [email protected] or Jennie C. at (661) 412-0700, [email protected]
GoFundMe: All monetary donations, including to purchase Wine on the Lake admission, can be made on the GoFundMe page.
Giftcards: One can mail gas and grocery gift cards to Kennedy at P.O. Box 801784 Valencia, CA 91355.
Tammy Murga covers city hall and business for The Signal. She joined in the summer of 2018, previously working in Northern California as an assistant editor and reporter for the Lake County Record-Bee. In 2016, she graduated from Mount Saint Mary's University, Los Angeles. Have a story tip? Message her on Twitter or at [email protected]