When Delavan’s Sarah Jennison was first diagnosed with chordoma 10 years ago, she resolved to fight the rare cancer as long as she could for her two children.

      A single mother, she went through multiple surgeries and chemotherapy as well as immunotherapy and radiation therapy. But now, the cancer has spread throughout her body.

      “It’s everywhere,” said Kim Follis, Jennison’s sister.

      With a terminal diagnosis, Follis has stepped up for her sister, starting a GoFundMe page to raise money for Jennison’s two sons – Parker, 16, and Phenixx, 12. So far, Follis has hit the initial goal of $50,000.

      A fundraiser July 2 netted about another $10,000, which has helped Jennison meet current bill payments and household needs.

      The $50,000 – and whatever comes in next – is earmarked for Parker and Phenixx, so they have options for schooling and living expenses in the future. Follis is committed to making sure the two boys have an independent financial future, since Jennison will leave nothing behind.

      “She literally has nothing to leave for the boys but furniture,” Follis said.

      When Jennison was diagnosed in 2012, it literally came out of the blue. She had been wrestling with her older son, and thought she had hurt her back. After X-rays and some time healing with no relief, she finally went back for an MRI.

      “It showed this large, grapefruit-sized mass on her sacrum,” Follis said.

      The sacrum is a shield-shaped bony structure at the base of the lumbar vertebrae and that is connected to the pelvis, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine at medlineplus.gov.

      Seventeen hours of surgery removed the tumor. The cancer had been slow-growing and located in one spot only, but when it was removed, the cancer became aggressive. Research shows that between 30% and 40% of chordoma cases reoccur and metastasize.

      Follis commented that with chordoma being so rare and then Jennison falling into the 30%, “my sister is like one in a million people.”

      “That’s how we felt. Like, ‘God, really?’” Follis said. “The odds were never in her favor.”

      Jennison was just 27 when she was diagnosed, and not yet gotten life insurance. She was working on setting it up when the diagnosis came – and was unable to get it afterward.

      A divorced, single mom, Jennison went back to work at her father’s bar. The cancer began spreading, though, first as small soft-tissue tumors. Follis said that the doctors would remove the ones that were growing, and Jennison continued treatment.

      In April of this year, though, doctors told Jennison there was nothing more they could do. The cancer had spread to her heart, as well as throughout the rest of her body.

      “The heart diagnosis is what gave us that terminal diagnosis,” Follis said.

      Shortly after, Follis started the fundraiser.

      The QR code attached to this story will also lead readers to the GoFundMe page. For the full story, please see the print edition of the Delavan Enterprise.

 

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