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Jessica

Orlando, Florida

People were used to watching Jessica Sanchez on Channel 6 to keep them up to date with traffic in the mornings. Jessica was pursuing her dream career as a journalist without a clue that her life was about to drastically change.

One day she suddenly developed a nagging cough. “At first I thought I had pneumonia because I was coughing so much and I could feel congestion in my lungs.” After a biopsy Jessica was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a form of cancer.

Jessica

“It was growing. It was 13 centimeters, and it was putting pressure on my lungs and on my heart.” Jessica began chemotherapy, and soon enough, it was time for another big step—shaving her head. 

“You know how women always complain about something? My hair was never one thing I complained about! I always loved my hair, but it started to come out in chunks.” She wasn’t the only one with a shaved head, her cat ‘Mugsie’ also showed his support. “I went ahead and shaved him too. I figured he would need it, but also it was in show of support. I figured he would want to support me by shaving his head too.”

In the early stages of her chemotherapy, she began to feel uneasy and could tell that something wasn’t right. “I wasn’t feeling well. I didn’t know why, and it’s because the chemotherapy kills the cancer cells but it also kills all the cells in your body and my hemoglobin was really low.” That’s when Jessica received her first blood transfusion, the first of three that ended up saving her life.

“After that first blood transfusion, I asked if this really necessary. The doctor told me if I hadn’t come in, I could have been dead within 24 hours.” Blood transfusions are essential for cancer patients due to the harsh effects of chemotherapy. 

Today, Jessica is doing better and has finished her chemotherapy. She says without blood donations, she couldn’t have won the battle. Jessica encourages others to donate blood and share the gift of life with cancer patients like her.

“It’s just one of those things you end up conquering, like sky ping or climbing a mountain. Hey you know what? I beat cancer. I went through it and I can tell you all about it.” Jessica is now in remission and hopes to be back on TV. “I think I am ready to come back to work, and you kind of miss the work. I kind of miss getting up at 2 AM, who knew?”

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