Few things hit harder than going through a battle with cancer. It’s harder still to battle it a fourth time.
That’s the life Jennifer Kennedy has been living this summer.
Hearing her story and hoping to help, local businessman Fred Arnold coordinated a fundraiser to help Kennedy with her medical bills.
“When I first read about her situation, my heart broke,” Arnold said. “Here’s a member of our community who’s facing cancer for a fourth time. So she asked if there were people in the community who could do something. So I said, ‘Let’s do something.’”
Dozens of people filled the backyard of Arnold’s home off of Lakeside Road in Bridgeport Saturday night; tickets went for $50 a person or $250 for those who wished to be a sponsor for the event. Arnold gathered donations of wine, food and prizes from attendees, with all the money going directly to Kennedy’s GoFundMe page, according to the event flier.
Attendees were treated to an open selection of various wines and spirits in a casual setting that allowed guests to mingle and talk next to the open water of Bridgeport’s lake.
Kennedy was unable to attend the event herself. However, her daughter and mother, who have helped care for her during her fourth round against the disease, came out to express thanks for the support the community has given.
“It’s incredible to see all these people come out. We never expected the community to come together like this,” said Marissa Scaccia, Kennedy’s daughter. “We’re overwhelmed by all the support; it’s amazing.”
Kennedy was first told she had cancer in 1997 After beating the disease once it went in remission for 19 years before reappearing as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma last year. Then this summer, she was told that her breast cancer had returned, beginning her latest fight. Despite the struggle of radiation, Scaccia says her mother’s condition is improving.
“Earlier this summer, she had to stay in bed,” Scaccia said. “Now she’s able to walk around a bit, do some normal tasks by herself. She seems a lot better than when this started.”
Scaccia and her grandmother Faye Kennedy met with many of the attendees sharing her story and progress, and thanking them for their contributions. .
Those unable to attend the event can still help Kennedy by donating to her GoFundMe page at www.gofundme.com/jennifer-kennedy-treatment-help. As of Sunday morning, the page has raised $7,700 of its $10,000 goal.
“I just want to say thank you to everybody, truly from the bottom of our hearts,” Scaccia said. “We couldn’t do any of this without them. We just think that this is incredibly and we are just so thankful.”