(Posted April 29, 2016)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Jen’s Prayer Warriors are pulling out all of the stops.
On May 7, this group of friends, family and caring strangers will host a day-long benefit for Jennifer Ripley, a 38-year-old London mother of two who is battling triple negative metastatic breast cancer.
The fundraiser will take place in the Coughlin Community Building on the Madison County Fairgrounds in London. A cornhole tournament, live and silent auctions, music, food, car raffle, 50/50 raffle, and children’s activities are planned. All proceeds go to Ripley and her family—husband, Jason, and daughters, Madison and Ava.
“They have worked really hard. They have outdone themselves,” Ripley said of the event’s organizers, adding that she is humbled by the outpouring of support.
Ripley’s story begins in October of last year when she consulted her doctor about a severe cold. When a lump was found on her collarbone, Ripley was sent immediately to Riverside Hospital for a mammogram, ultrasound and chest X-ray. All came back clear, so doctors focused instead on her sinuses.
During the course of taking two different rounds of antibiotics and meeting with an ear, nose and throat specialist, Ripley found two more knots, both of which hurt in the same way the first one did.
“At that point, I said, ‘I’ve got two kids at home. Whatever you need to do to figure this out, let’s do it,’” Ripley said.
A biopsy of one of her lymph nodes came back positive for cancer. The diagnosis came three days before Christmas.
Surgery and radiation were not options because the affected area is too spread out. So, Ripley started chemotherapy on Jan. 4. She receives treatment in four-week cycles—once a week for three weeks, then a week off.
“As of now, it’s responding very well to the chemo,” Ripley said.
“I can’t call myself a survivor yet, but I’m surviving and I’m thriving. Don’t get me wrong—I have bad days but, thank the Lord, so far they are few and far between.”
Just as the diagnosis has been overwhelming, so has the care and support she has received.
“It’s overwhelming, but in a good way, the love you feel,” Ripley said.
The lifelong London resident has received over 120 cards, including some from people she doesn’t know. Co-workers at London Elementary, where she works in the cafeteria, have donated their sick days for her to use. Her church family at Madison County Vineyard is there at every turn, offering prayers, food, and other forms of support. The community as a whole has lent a hand in many ways.
In addition to the love of friends, family and community, Ripley said she relies on her faith to get through.
“I’m trusting God with whatever this journey entails,” she said.
Jennifer Ripley Benefit
May 7 in the Coughlin Community Building on the Madison County Fairgrounds
8 a.m.—Auction items accepted at Coughlin Building
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.—Cornhole tournament sign-up; $20 per person
Noon-5 p.m.—Silent auction
1 p.m.—Cornhole tournament; single elimination, prizes for first, second, third
3 p.m.—Live auction begins
4 p.m.—Grand prize raffle of a car donated by Coughlin Automotive, $10 per ticket
Auction details: Among the items already donated are tickets to the Ohio State/Indiana football game, a grill, wood and metal sculptures, a London city pool pass, a bowling birthday party, a golf package for four, concert tickets, jewelry, and a voucher for a 4-H pig, to name just a few.
Contacts: Angie Long, (740) 506-3449 or Bart Howerton, (614) 725-8886.