FINDLAY, Ohio — Findlay's "Race for the Cure" is now less than a month away.
This year's race celebrates a breast cancer survivor who was once afraid to share her diagnosis. Now, she reflects on her fight with a smile.
"It was just a routine mammogram and that's where they caught it," Jennifer Bowman said of her diagnosis.
Jennifer got her first mammogram at 38. She was supposed to get her second at 40, but put it off for four years.
"It doesn't hurt. It doesn't take any time, but it's just something we put off," Jennifer said.
Thankfully, something in her made her get out of bed that Saturday morning for her appointment. She said she was shocked by the results ready by the radiologist.
"The first thing the doctor said to us was, 'It isn't good.' And I kinda looked a my mom like it was kinda shocking for her to say that. And, she just kinda went down the list. 'You're gonna need to have chemo. You're gonna need radiation. You're gonna have to have both your breasts removed,' and this, and that. It was all just shocking. She just kept throwing it at me and it was all overwhelming. I just was shocked," Jennifer said.
Jennifer followed up with an oncologist and it turned out she had HER 2 breast cancer. At one time, that diagnosis was devastating. But thanks to research, Jennifer said the doctor was able to deliver hopeful news.
"He told us, like, ten years ago it was one of the worst ones to have. And now, it's a good one to have because they have cures for it now," Jennifer said.
With her mom, Melody, by her side at all six chemo appointments, Jennifer took on cancer head-on.
"There are several times you watch and you're thinking, 'They're putting poison in my baby's body,' Melody said.
At first, Jennifer didn't want anyone to know about her diagnosis. Then, she decided to document every step and share it through a video.
Her mom said she is incredibly proud of Jennifer's strength.
"The beginning... the long, beautiful blonde hair to the bob that she got, to when she started losing her hair; had pictures of it laying on the sink. Then, getting her hair shaved," Melody said about the video.
Melody said her daughter always kept her smile and sense of humor even through difficult treatments.
"They probably thought we were not quite right out there. Because we laughed a lot. You have to. It's not gonna do any good to sit around and cry," Melody said.
Jennifer said she got through it with support from family and friends. The neighbor kids even made her a card.
At the time of her diagnosis, she had also just started a new job at NWO Orthopedic Surgery Center. Her co-workers quickly became friends.
"Everybody has been excellent and I made some new friends," Jennifer said through tears.
It's a good thing too; Jennifer celebrated having her port removed in December. By January, at her six month checkup, more spots were found on her left side.
"It was almost worst than the first time. Cause the not knowing, 'How can this be? I just went through chemo for a year, how can I?' It was scary," Jennifer said.
Fortunately, everything turned up negative. Now, Jennifer is focused on living life to its fullest.
On September 28, she'll be celebrated at Findlay's "Race for the Cure," an idea she's still getting used to.
"It's definitely overwhelming to me to think that all these people are going to be celebrating me, but I used to go celebrate them when I would go participate in Susan G. Komen races. I even put together a team five years ago for one of my friends."
Jennifer knows first-hand how the race and your registrations can change lives.
"Because of people contributing and helping out, it has led me to be cancer-free," Jennifer said.