The cancer community is full of stories of fighters that overcome even the greatest challenges, and our Programs Manager, Jemma, is no exception.  First diagnosed with cancer at the age of 23, and again for the second time at 24, Jemma rose to the challenge and beat both by the age of 25.  You could say she was her own “healer” in the process, using her own stem cells to save her life through an Autologus Stem Cell Transplant.

Her battle left her stronger, not weaker, which is clear to see through her previous work.  She has dedicated her life to cancer advocacy. Jemma began her work as a volunteer with the American Cancer Society for 9 years.  There she has contributed in several ways from bringing passion to the organization through meeting with political leaders about cancer issues to speaking at various events.  A champion for life, Jemma confided that the organization was meaningful enough to her that she wrote them into her will.

In 2007, Jemma met Jonny at an Imerman Angels event, and the rest is history!  She became a Mentor Angel in 2009, sharing her experience with other cancer fighters through 1-on-1 support relationships, then became a full time staff member in 2011. Managing 6-12 volunteers and staff members, she works around the clock to promote the mission of Imerman Angels while doing her best to give back to the cancer community.

Like we find with many of the cancer survivors in our community, strength, courage, and perseverance seem to be written into Jemma’s DNA. When she is not spending time with her 12 year old son, who she raises as a single parent, she enjoys staying active. 14,000 mountain climbs, 2 half marathons, 2 sprint triathlons, 3 stair climbs, multiple running competitions, whitewater kayaking and CrossFit are just a few things that Jemma has already accomplished.

We wanted to take a moment to introduce you to Jemma and her story.  Like many of our fighters, survivors and caregivers, Jemma has taken both cancer and life head on.  To meet Jemma, or share your story with her, reach out to us!   Check out the links below to learn more about Jemma!

o   Website/Blog: www.iamjem.com

o   Articles and Accomplishments:

http://www.cancer.org/treatment/survivorshipduringandaftertreatment/storiesofhope/hodgkin-lymphoma-survivor-pours-her-energy-into-volunteering

http://desplaines.patch.com/announcements/des-plaines-resident-selected-as-a-stakeholder-to-review-american-cancer-society-research-grant-proposals

http://www.self.com/health/2012/10/young-cancer-survivors