By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on April 14, 2009 1:47 PM
Jenny Kominsky, right, honorary chairman for the Relay for Life Kids Walk, and her cousin, Katie Kendall, hold purple ribbons of remembrance for this year\'s Relay for Life event. The cousins are both 17 and juniors at Southern Wayne High School.
When Jenny Kominsky was 121/2, she discovered a lump on her shoulder.
It turned out to be cancer.
After nine months of chemotherapy, she had surgery to have her clavicle removed.
By the end of that year, she was told that everything had gone well and no more chemo was required.
Now 17, she has been cancer-free for four years, one year shy of being considered officially in remission.
She has decided to use her own experience to help others, being named this year's honorary chairman for the Relay for Life Kids Walk.
The Southern Wayne High School junior is an awesome role model, says her cousin Katie Kendall, also 17, and a junior at the school.
It was Katie who first got Jenny involved in Relay.
"It's my senior project," Katie explained. "It started because of Jennifer because we have always been close. Seeing her go through that was really hard."
Katie recalls the most critical days after being diagnosed.
"When she had cancer, not one time did she complain," she said. "She got up every morning and took her medicine."
Katie launched her own Relay team -- Save, Wish, Hope, Survive, the same initials of their high school. She asked Jenny to be her co-captain, prompting Jenny to become more involved in Relay for Life.
As a result, someone from the organization saw Jenny at an event and suggested she would be a good candidate for children's chairman.
It's a role she now takes seriously.
"It's something to try to better other people and to better how much people know about cancer and to try to help support it and get it to where everybody has a better chance of surviving and doing better," Jenny said. "I'm looking to try to get more people to come out and be more involved in it."
Katie plans to continue her efforts, also. At the outset, she set a goal to raise $15,000. To date, she's collected $2,482.81.
"I know that the economy is bad and a lot of people are not donating as much, but whatever they can give, I greatly appreciate it because it's a big priority," she said. "If they see Jenny, I just hope they see what good can come of it.
"It started out as my senior project but I'm definitely going to keep doing it. It's not so much a job now, it's more of a lifestyle. It's not about the money, it's about getting awareness."
Jenny's next appearance will be this weekend's third annual "Ride for a Cure" motorcycle run, to be held on Saturday, originating at the Cliffs of the Neuse State Park.
The yearly event, which benefits Relay for Life, is hosted by the Zion Marchers of Pricetown near Mount Olive. Jenny will be an honored guest that day.
Registration starts at 9 a.m., followed by the motorcycle ride at 11. Cost is $15 a person, $20 per couple, with lunch included.
For more information, call Brian at 658-5035, Mike at 222-2083, or Bo at 252-569-2541.
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