I'm a mother of two beautiful girls, small business owner, and a very proud spouse of an Army EOD Tech currently deployed in Afghanistan. Within the past 2 1/2 years, I have lost 135 lbs naturally through diet and exercise, and have grown such a deep passion for running. Nothing makes me feel more alive than being out on the road and taking in the world around me.
I joined Fred's Team to bring awareness to Fibrolamellar Hepatocellular Carcinoma, a rare liver cancer that took my dear friend Nikki Geary-Phelan's life in 2008.
I met Nikki in the first years of high school through band and NJROTC. Nikki was the girl that could be friends with anyone. She truly had a heart of gold that never seemed to pass judgment and her personality always made me smile.
As we grew older, we became closer and worked together at the local pizza place in town. She had been in and out of the hospital and my first thoughts were hoping it wasn't anything serious. I will never forget the day she called me and said: "Jess, it's cancer." Throughout her treatment, my boyfriend (now husband) and I watched her wilt little by little every day. Seeing her and her family suffer has been one of the most heartbreaking things I have ever witnessed in my entire life.
To be able to do what I love while also raising awareness is a true gift. Nikki may be gone, but her memory remains, and we will fight for her so that other people have a greater chance of survival.