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Jessica's Journey
Jessica Main, President

In the winter of 2010, Jessica Main discovered intermittent pain in her breast. She was around 38 years old when she first noticed the pain. While she assumed it was normal, or perhaps even a result of age, the pain accelerated over six months. It was then she decided to visit the doctor.  This is where Jessica’s journey began.

Doctors diagnosed her with HER2+, a rare form of breast cancer. HER2+ affects only 20% of women diagnosed with breast cancer. This form of cancer is particularly aggressive and those diagnosed are often given a poor outlook.

On Dec. 28, 2010, she began chemotherapy.  “It was time to go into battle and become a warrior,” she said. The first morning of chemotherapy terrified her, not knowing what the first day entailed and how the drugs were going to affect her body.  “It reminded me of my first day of kindergarten, that scary feeling of walking into the classroom for the first time,” she said.  To keep her occupied and comforted during the long treatment time, she had packed herself what she described as a “safety bag” to take to chemotherapy with her.  The contents changed over time after observing the different effects the drugs had on the body.

After completing chemotherapy, the tumor shrunk and was removed by doctors during surgery. The journey, however, was not over.  She had to undergo 35 rounds of radiation and continue for another year on a targeted drug called Herceptin.  “I lost my hair, I lost everything,” she said. “I had to find that strength to keep moving.”

Ms. Main invested that strength into helping build the nonprofit, Blessed Bag. Applying her knowledge and experience with cancer, she helped to assemble bags for others undergoing chemotherapy. The concept grew from there.

As the nonprofit continues its mission to provide comfort to those undergoing chemotherapy, she is amazed at the feedback she gets from those who receive the bags.  “People can’t believe what a gift it is,” Ms. Main explained.  Today, Blessed Bag has given over 2,500 bags all over the United States.

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