Have you ever though of how you might handle a difficult diagnosis like 3 Meningioma Brain Tumors? What if that diagnosis came to you a week before Christmas? Something like that might cause a person to want to bury their head in the sand, but when that diagnosis was explained to Jennifer Pownall of Northeast Philadelphia in 2014 she did the exact opposite. “I immediately knew I had to stand up and fight this illness. I refuse to let this illness get the best of me. I decided to turn my diagnosis into my Purpose.” Jennifer explained.
After her diagnosis Jennifer found out some seriously frightening statistics:
- There are over 700,000 people in the US living with a Brain Tumor.
- Everyday 13 children in the US are diagnosed with a Brain Tumor.
- More children die from Brain Tumor than from any other form of cancer.
- There has never been a drug developed and approved specifically for malignant Pediatric Brain Tumors.
- There are only 4 approved drugs for Brain Tumor that only provided incremental improvements to patient survival and mortality rates over the past 30 years.
- All Brain Tumors whether Benign or Malignant can kill and they have lasting and life altering physical, cognitive, and psychological impacts on a patients life.
Saddened by these stats Jennifer knew what she needed to do, “My purpose is to be the voice that the Brain Tumor Community so desperately needs.” So she started to take action, “I began holding fundraising events, speaking in public at different venues, and I created social media challenges for the National Brain Tumor Society and The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation to raise awareness and funds for new treatment options and ultimately a cure.”
All this while continuing her own battle with her 3 inoperable tumors that cause her a lot of pain. “My tumors are benign but wreak havoc on my body’s central nervous system and I have Trigeminal Neuralgia because the tumors are pressing on my Trigeminal nerves. Right now I am on medication management and I go to Jefferson Hospital regularly to monitor my symptoms and to monitor how my tumors are growing. I pray they grow very slow during my lifetime.” Jennifer Says.
Jennifer’s work in spreading the Brain Tumor message has kept her going, she explains, “I have met so many brain tumor patients and parents who have children that have brain tumors and I found them leaning on me and depending on me to get the word out that the brain tumor sufferers deserve support and acknowledgement. They suffer in silence and its my job to break the silence. ”
Many opportunities have been coming Jennifer’s way thanks to her fantastic spirit in the face of disease, “Through my travels and advocating I was given the awesome opportunity to star in an upcoming film called Right Before Your Eyes written by Executive Producer David Vincent Bobb- depicting his life story. Everyone involved in the film Jeni Miller, Mario Cerritto lll, the star studded cast included myself is excited to bring to everyone a truly uplifting, inspirational story that everyone can relate to on a very deep and real level. I play the role of Hope- the barmaid in the film. The film is set to come out in 2017.”
She also has a new role with a foundation that honors a late Phillies ball player. “I recently became a member on The Board of Directors acting as Vice President -Foundation Development/Governance for The Darren Daulton Foundation.” Jennifer Explains, “The Darren Daulton Foundation provides financial assistance to those who suffer from Brain Cancer, Brain Tumors, and Brain Injuries. I was drawn to The Darren Daulton Foundation because I have helped other Brain Tumor Organizations raise funds for new treatment options and towards research for a cure but never have I had a hand in actually helping to provide financial assistance to help those suffering be able to get by and pay their bills while they worry about trying to survive through their illness. Brain Tumor/Cancer carries the highest individual burden of all cancers with an average cost more than 5 times higher than for Breast or Prostate Cancer. So it warms my heart to be a member of The Darren Daulton Foundation.”
If you are looking to help the cause there are many ways to get involved. “I am participating in The Race for Hope 5k run/walk for The National Brain Tumor Society –Runners/walkers are still needed and encouraged to sign up for the run on October 2nd.” Jennifer says. “The Darren Daulton Foundation has two events coming up. On October 9th at Chickies and Petes on Roosevelt Blvd from 5pm-9pm enjoy an evening with The Darren Daulton Foundation. Dutch and some former Phillies players will be there, Secret Service Band will be playing, and there will be plenty of food and drink. Tickets are $30 per person. Proceeds of sales benefit the foundation.” A golf outing is also planned for October 10th, tickets are sold out but donations and volunteers are still needed. For more information on either event visit the Darren Daulton Foundation website.
Our Happening Hero, Jennifer, has a word of advise to anyone who is struggling, “I want people to know that when you feel you are facing your darkest moments try your best to fight your way out of the dark and take control of whatever has hold and control over you. Stand up for yourself and love yourself and- like me- you just might find out you are capable of doing more in this life than you ever imagined.”