Jennifer, who was diagnosed at 17 with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, knows the impact of acquiring power, peace, and purpose amid the turmoil of cancer treatment. After enduring multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation in addition to a stem cell transplant, Jennifer was introduced to the Kids Kicking Cancer program through a social worker at Children’s Hospital of Michigan. During her long hospitalization, Jennifer was taught Kids Kicking Cancer’s relaxation and breathing techniques by Sensei’s Richard and Peter, Kids Kicking Cancer’s martial arts therapists who visited her often.
Upon her release from the hospital, Jennifer began attending the Kids Kicking Cancer karate classes. The program has helped mitigate her fears, and has oﬀered invaluable perspective: “I’ve learned to control the panic I feel when I go to the doctor and hear something I don’t understand. I can step back and use my breathing to not panic and not jump to conclusions. The other main beneﬁt has been motivation: when I go to class, I see other kids who are sick like me, and I realize that if they can do it, so can I. The other kids push me to do better.”
At 24 years old, Jennifer still enjoyed participating in the Kids Kicking Cancer program. As a young adult she had taken on a leadership role, especially being able to share her experiences with new students. Jennifer is an inspiration, although she continued to face medical challenges, Kids Kicking Cancer’s many tools supported her through her journey.