Photo Credit: Michael Heinz/Journal & Courier
A woman’s brush with death has given a new purpose for her black 1974 Corvette.
Jennifer Barnett knew something just wasn’t right with her body last year. She found a large lump in her left breast in August 2013, and about a month later, doctors gave her the grim news – she had stage IV breast cancer that had apparently spread to her liver.
She embarked on a year of chemotherapy aimed to keep the cancer from growing, and by February, tests showed that the breast tumor had indeed shrunk – but the tumor in her liver had not.
Fortunately, more testing revealed that the liver tumor was benign, and doctors adjusted her diagnosis to stage II cancer – which has a 93 percent five-year survival rate, much higher than the 22 percent of stage IV.
While Jennifer is happy she has a greater chance now of surviving the cancer, she admits she still feels guilty sometimes about still being here when many of her fellow sisters with cancer have not survived.
To increase awareness about breast cancer, Jennifer has had her vintage Corvette wrapped, and it now serves as a rolling billboard in the battle against the disease.
On a sad note, the doors of the Corvette have been marked with the names of women who have already lost their fight with breast cancer, 50 names on each side.
But on a more positive note, a large pink ribbon with wings now adorns the hood of the Corvette, surrounded by the names of about 100 other breast cancer survivors. Women who are living with stage IV breast cancer even have a special tri-colored ribbon by their names.
“Now and forever, I will advocate for stage IV breast cancer,” Jennifer says. “Those women get pushed off to the side and forgotten about.”
Jennifer makes the car available for public events to help educate others about breast cancer, or she’ll even try to add a little cheer for a woman who might be undergoing chemotherapy by taking her on a ride in her sports car.
“I really felt like if I was going to hold on to (the car), she needed a job,” Jennifer says. “What better way to gain awareness than to take a vintage car you don’t see every day on the road and put your cause on it?”
We’re glad to hear that Jennifer is winning her battle against cancer, and we salute her willingness to use her Corvette as a goodwill ambassador for the cause. It’s also great to hear that she has a more laid-back attitude about everyday living after her brush with death.
“I wake up every morning with a different outlook on life because I had to face my mortality,” she says.
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