Jen and her husband Jay are from Warren, Rhode Island, where they have 2 sons and Westie named Batman. On top of being a wife and a mother to Jack (3) and Jameson (1), Jen owns her own jewelry business, A Girl in Pearls, and works full-time for an insurance company.
Jen started CrossFit just a little over a year ago, August 9, 2013, at CrossFit Unhinged in Bristol, RI. Shortly after she started, her gym shut down and she continued her journey at CrossFit Seekonk in MA. Jen started from almost nothing; she couldn’t run any meaningful distance and couldn’t even hang from the pull-up bar, as she just had given birth to their second child a few months earlier. Fitness is a new concept to Jen. She had played sports growing up, but hadn’t really appreciated what her body could do until starting CrossFit. Someone said to her a few weeks ago, “Whatever it was that brought you to CrossFit last year was preparing you mentally and physically to fight this.” She often wonders if she hadn’t started working out and lost all the weight, if she would have even felt the lump that set this whole thing in motion.
On September 12, 2014, Jen was diagnosed with Lymphoma. She had spent the last 20 days rounding through antibiotics, ultrasounds, MRI’s and finally a lymphnode biopsy that revealed the cancer. She then went on to another 2 weeks of testing; PET scans, CAT scans, blood work, additional MRI’s and a bone marrow biopsy, where it was classified as Stage IV Mantle Cell Lymphoma.
Jen started her first chemo treatment on October 1st, and like a true Everyday Warrior, she was back at CrossFit Seekonk the very next day. Her plan: “I just need to be there with the incredible support group.” Jen will workout as much as possible for as long as she is feeling up to it. And her coaches already have a plan in place to help her through the days she’s not feeling as strong or energized as usual.
Jen‘s CrossFit family has provided her support and strength during her diagnosis and her fight with cancer. They all showed up at 5 am the day before her first chemo treatment, all in matching lime green shirts (lime green is the color for lymphoma) with the message “5 am supports #JenBeatsMCL” printed on them. Jen says, “It blew me away to see all of my coaches and friends there at that hour to support me. We did a WOD with all of my favorite moves in it!”
When asked where she gets her motivation and strength from, Jen says it comes from her support system. She started a Facebook group, #JenBeatsMCL, to keep her immediate family and close friends informed of her treatments and over 300 people have joined it. These people offer daily encouragement and support that keeps her going; knowing she has so many wonderful people rooting for her. Jen says her babies also keep her going. A doctor said to her, “you may not see your sons graduate,” but she KNOWS that is not her destiny, and that is NOT how this ends.