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Winning the Fight

Daffodil Day on April 27 is a special day to reflect, help and show support for those living with cancer

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Plus, she deadpans with a cheeky smile, she wanted "a matching set."

Over the course of a year Jen had her breasts removed and new implants put in. The silver lining, she says, was going from a B cup to a Double D.

Why not, after all? It suits her.

The day after the surgery was done she hit Metro Town Mall and tried on new tops, checking out her new bustier profile.

The silver lining, she says again.

There were times though when she thought twice about her decision, grappled with the question of whether she was doing the right thing or not.

"I learned that you have to make a decision and go with it," she says. "You can't dwell on the past and what-ifs."

That attitude carried forward after the cancer was gone.

In the fall of 2008 Jen was accepted to a Master's program, done by online distant education.

The last time she was in school, she says was 1989, when she finished her undergrad in nursing. Learning has come a long way since then. She barely used a computer back in the late eighties; now it was all about the computer.

Five weeks into the program Jen says she was struggling. She had lost ten pounds, was losing sleep, forgetting everyday things for her kids, like bringing skates to her daughter's figure skating lessons. She was stressed.

Having cancer gave her a new perspective. Was she going to endure another two and half years like this, or take action now.

She quit, telling herself: "Don't stay in the Master's program because you think it's something you need to do and this was your plan."

Plans change. Accept it. Make a decision. Move on to the next plan.

Jen has daily reminders of her cancer — the scars when she looks in the mirror every day. But she doesn't dwell on it.

She's part of a research study looking at breast cancer in pre-menopausal women.

"There's five girls in the next generation," she says of her family.

"(I'll do) anything I can to help with the research in terms of their future too."

Nick's story

It's been eight months since his transplant. Eight months cancer-free.

Like Jen's figure, Keith's tattoo, and Leslie's swollen arm, Nick too bears the physical changes of cancer.

His aren't as visible though.

Flowing through Nick's body is new blood; different from the Type B he was born with.

He is now Type A, the same blood type as his anonymous donor.

Nick is what's called a "chimera" — he has two different DNA's.

His blood is his donor's DNA, his hair and skin his original DNA.

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