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Cancer Survivors

I Run Because I Live

Jodi Vargas is one of our team members and is a previvor of cancer.  She wanted to share her story below.  Read her story below and then make a donation at http://bit.ly/yZjEXK

I Run Because I Live…
If you’ve read the “our Background”post from January 14, you are aware of the intent of Myriad employees running in part to spend time interacting with their “customers.” I read that, too, and wondered exactly who they were referring to. Turns out, I am one of those customers. The thing is…I don’tfeel like a customer at all. I am a patient, a “previvor”(Google it), an advocate. I am one of the people whose life has beenchanged forever by the kind of research we are raising money andawareness to support.
My name is Jodi Vargas. I’mprobably better known, though as Henry’s Mom. My son Henry is 19now, and still, my favorite thing to be called is Henry’s Mom.
Henry’s dad, my husband Alan, diedwhen Henry was only 7 years old. He became ill when I was pregnantwith Henry, so Henry only ever knew a sick dad.
I was only thirty when I became awidow.
Five years later, my own mother died ofovarian cancer after an eight year horrific battle with that terribledisease.
I began asking my doctor about testingeven before my mother died. I had witnessed first-hand how deadlyovarian cancer could be, and I was terrified of leaving Henry. Icould not bear the thought of putting him through another parent witha long illness – or worse – the death of his only remainingparent. My doctor assured me, however, that I didn’t need to worryabout being tested. She said that the tests were generallyunreliable, and that since I was only in my early 30’s, I hadplenty of time to live without the worry of breast and ovariancancer. I trusted my doctor, yet each visit to her, I asked abouttesting again. Over and over, she reassured me that I didn’t needto worry so much.
I tried not to worry. My life wasmoving forward in amazing ways. In July 2007, I married my husband,Jason, in Hawaii. Henry gave me away at our wedding.
Why Jodi Runs
JULY 2007
Late November 2008 I went to see afamily practice doctor because I was having severe allergies. As Iwas waiting in the exam room for the doctor, I noticed a poster onher wall about BRCA testing. I asked if I could have the test, andwithout much discussion, my blood was drawn. I got the call onDecember 12, 2008, two days before my 39th birthday. Ihave the BRCA1 mutation, which made me very likely to get breast andovarian cancer.
I had my BSO and hysterectomy onJanuary 20, and my prophylactic bilateral mastectomy on April 2 of2009.
Losing both my first husband and mymother after long illnesses has taught me many things. The mostimportant of those is to never take time for granted.
I am proof that being tested made adifference. I get to continue to be Henry’s Mom for a very longtime.

To make a donation to the Huntsman Cancer Foundation and help support Jodi and her vision to find a cure for cancer, visit : http://bit.ly/yZjEXK


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