Starting A Non Profit After A Life Changing Event
How A Pedicure Saved Jenn’s Life
Jenn Andrews was a health and wellness coach when, getting a pedicure, had her life change forever. Pregnant with her first child, her pedicurist noticed a pea-sized lump on her right foot. She had a physician look at it after the pedicurist found it. Little to Jenn’s knowledge, it turned out to be a benign cyst that grew bigger over time.
For Jenn, what she thought would be a relaxing getaway, turned out to be a life-changing moment in her life. She realized she had to get a diagnosis on the cyst after it grew to the size of a golf ball during her second pregnancy. Shortly after giving birth to her son, she knew she had to do something about it. A specialist recommended her getting the lump surgically removed. After the surgeon removed the benign cyst lump, only 10 days later, when going to a post-op appointment to potentially get her stitches removed, the doctor discovered a layer of cancerous cells on the top of her right foot which turned out to be low grade myxoid sarcoma which was rare. In simple terms, sarcoma is a tumor that affects connective tissue which includes fat, blood vessels, muscle, deep skin tissues, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. With her children being 3 and 4 at the time, she knew she had to make the tough decision of amputating her right leg to assure cancer would be gone for good.
Becoming An Amputee Woman
Making the bold decision to have your foot amputated, is a decision no one wants to have to make. Jenn knew in her heart that in order to live life cancer free, she had to live as an amputee woman the rest of her life and ultimately choose life over her foot. She knew it’d take a lot of sacrifices, hard work, and a strong mentality to get through the amputation process.
To inspire others to recognize that everyday mobility is a gift, the day of her surgery, she posted on Social Media to have people move in their favorite way, and the post went viral reaching over 86,000 people around the world! That's when the hashtag #MoveForJenn was created. This inspired her so much that she and her husband started the Move For Jenn foundation in hopes of giving other amputees hope for a bright future despite the hardships they faced while having cancer followed by limb amputation.
Changing The Lives Of Other Amputees
When Jenn lost her foot to sarcoma, she wanted to inspire others and make a difference. She was driven by a mission to help other amputees get active again. "I wish that I never had to go through it, but now I use my story to help other people, so in that there is a purpose," she stated. In March 2019, the Move For Jenn Foundation became an official 501c3. The foundation’s name was born after the hashtag #MoveForJenn took off. Their mission is simple; To create sarcoma awareness, offer grants to cancer amputees who qualify for a running blade, and raise funds for sarcoma research.
Since starting the Move For Jenn Foundation, Jenn and her team have already granted the first prosthesis to a 20-year-old amputee, Jacob Poteat, who lost part of his leg from osteosarcoma. Jacob went through seven months of chemo. He had lost his job at the fire department and subsequently his insurance. It was a no brainer the Move For Jenn foundation wanted to step in to help this hometown hero. Poteat was the foundation’s first grant recipient, and with their help, it changed his life forever. He was back to work months after his amputation. They hope to be able to help other sarcoma amputees in the near future.
Living Happily Cancer Free
Since being rewarded her first running blade prosthetic from a prosthetic manufacturer, Jenn realized you can live happily cancer-free and that being an amputee woman for her was the new normal. Knowing how much it meant to her to receive a prosthetic, she knew she wanted to take a negative life event and turn it into something positive, and share with others that it’s possible to live cancer free enjoying life with a prosthetic. The Move For Jenn foundation hopes to continue its mission of creating sarcoma awareness, offer grants to cancer amputees who qualify and raise funds for sarcoma research.