Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bouts with cancer, heart disease don't define Germanna SGA president or slow her down: 'Tomorrow isn't promised, so I have to affect today.'

Jenny Stone isn’t the typical college student body president.

For one thing, the Germanna Community College Student Government Association leader and Falmouth resident is 40 years old, and her 21- and 20-year-old sons plan to join her at GCC for the spring semester.
She’s survived two bouts with ovarian cancer.  During her second cancer surgery in 2007, she had a cardiac event on the operating table, she says. A major heart attack and quadruple bypass followed a year later at age 35.

Germanna SGA President Jenny Stone

This month she suffered a minor heart attack. Doctors tell her that her heart disease has become a grave concern, she says.
Of her heart problems, she says: “I’m not allowing this to stop or slow my life down. I decided long ago not to dwell in my illnesses or let them define me.”

  She plans to soon take part in an SGA trip, a winter formal dance and a Fredericksburg Food Bank drive.

“I’m not resigned to dying,” she says. “But I understand it could happen any moment.

“In some ways, it makes me a little less afraid,” Stone says. “I know that tomorrow isn’t promised, so I have to affect today. And that means by being willing to get up and do things.”

“Things happen. You have to pick yourself up and go. I was really angry at my body. I was going 90 miles an hour and I really wanted to make my catering business work.”

She ran Stone Soup Catering at Little Washington in Rappahannock County until health problems forced her to stop.

  “Catering was something I was good at and I loved it,” she says.

 She’s found herself again at Germanna, she says.

“This school has been a revelation,” Stone says. “I am so looking forward to my bachelor’s and master’s work.

  She’s studying psychology and plans to get her associate’s degree at Germanna, then transfer to the University of Mary Washington for her bachelor’s and possibly Marymount University for graduate work.

She has been a Sunshine Lady Foundation Scholar through the Germanna Educational Foundation.

“I had not been in school in 20 years,” she says about coming to Germanna. “I was as terrified as an 18-year-old coming out of high school. I felt behind the times and old. "

But that feeling didn’t last long. The fact that she’s been elected SGA president is evidence that she’s accepted by other students, and she says GCC’s faculty has been “inspirational,” particulary psychology Prof. Evan Gorelick.

 She said she hopes her psychology studies lead to work helping police officers who are under stress, as well as family counseling.

 “When you get to the point that your next minute may be your last, you think carefully about what you want to spend time on,” she says.

“I want to see my sons finish college … I want them to go on to feel they are a part of a community greater and larger than themselves.” She said accepting her own mortality led to her focusing on helping others.

  She's worked with the student government at Germanna to help victims of Hurricane Sandy.

 “To have an impact, you can’t just do it as one person, you do it as a community, although my husband tells me one person starts things,” she says. “It starts at home. It starts here at Germanna. It starts showing students what community means … That’s important.”



Community Colleges in New Jersey said...

I'm very glad that she is fine now and i hope she will be remain healthy and i know lots of people are praying for her because she is doing work for coming generation.

Anonymous said...

I was searching about cancer and came across your blog. It was a motivation article to read and get know Jenny Stone. Her fight against cancer and other difficulties bring motivation to all women around. I will pray God for Jenny's health.