FOSTORIA, Ohio — Darlene Jennings is fighting an incurable disease that has taken hold of her whole body. Despite the diagnosis, she chooses to have hope and uses it to lift up others.
Jennings said it's her faith that's gotten her through the past 20 years.
Isaiah 40:31 is Jennings' favorite Bible scripture.
"But they that wait upon the Lord, shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be worried, and they shall walk and not faint."
Jennings' journey began in 1999 when she found a lump in her right breast.
She was living in Florida at the time.
"It was quite a jolt. But you know, I just looked up at the clouds, the sunny Florida sky and I said, 'OK, God, how are we going to handle this one?'" she said.
Jennings then went through chemotherapy and had a mastectomy.
Exactly one year later, she found another lump.
"I had 32 radiation treatments and chemotherapy treatment at the same time. It was very rough to go through, but we made it," she said.
Then, the cancer came back in her left breast. It spread to her lymph nodes and bone. She had another mastectomy.
Following that surgery, cancer found its way to both her ovaries. They, too, were removed, along with her fallopian tubes. It didn't stop there.
The cancer, then, turned up on her scalp.
"Cancer is very quiet. Not very painful, for the most part," Jennings said.
Her diagnosis became "stage four metastatic breast cancer with no cure."
That diagnosis came five years ago, but you'd never tell by looking at the 76-year-old who's very active and volunteers with the Good Shepherd Home in Fostoria.
"I'm a fighter. I really am," she said. "And it's a good thing because I've been able to tackle this."
Jennings said she has lost many loved ones to cancer since her journey began, including a sister, but she finds strength in her faith.
"You know, it slaps your mortality right in your face but I don't dwell on it, I just ask God to use me, that I can help others," she said.
That's what she's doing. Jennings has participated in Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure for the past 19 years. This year will be no different.
She also finds comfort in the services the organization provides, like a retreat for women living with metastatic breast cancer. Additionally, she supports research made possible because of the race.
"Years ago, when we used to hear the word cancer, it was a death sentence and it's not. For my situation, it was about my will to want to live," she said.
Jennings knows she will pass. She has already planned her funeral, but she said she's never going to stop fighting.
"Never lose hope."