Hometown Hero: Jenny Woodward

Published: Oct. 10, 2022 at 7:40 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Three years into remission, Jenny Woodward recognizes the success of her cancer battle mostly through the reasons she fought so hard in the first place.

“Any time the girls have any kind of milestone moment, like my oldest is in middle school this year, I am extra grateful. And I find myself in the midst of whatever we’re doing, I’m just silently praying, ‘oh God, thank you that I get to be here for this, thank you that I’m here for this moment. Because, it could have gone differently,” Jenny Woodward said.

Jenny was just 34 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, six years before most women get their first mammogram.

Her daughters, Ivy an Lililiana, were just 5 and 8 when their mom got sick.

“That pressure of having them to care for. I’ve always stayed home with them, we’ve always home schooled them, and so that fear of all the what ifs added another dimension.”

But even that young, the girls were part of the large and loving support system that helped her all the way through her diagnosis and treatments.

“My husband was a saint. He took such good care of me so well after my surgery, taking care of the wounds and all that. My girls were amazing. They filled this while wall with pictures, because that’s how they could love me well, with pictures. They washed my feet for me at one point when I couldn’t shower. My parents, live not far and so many doctors appointments they were our childcare. My mom went with to a lot because she was a retired nurse. Our church community, I mean I didn’t cook for two months. A friend hired a housekeeper to come clean for me, another friend came and vacuumed. We had pastors meet us at the hospital and prayed with us before surgeries. We were very well supported.”

An important part of that support was the perspective of a friend of a friend, a survivor who coached Jenny through every step of the experience.

“I called her my tour guide through cancer. we got real close, real quick because she had been there and it gave me a lot of hope talking to someone who was on the other side of it, just to see there’s life on the other side of a diagnosis and it will be ok.

Jenny tries to be that person for other cancer patients now.

And when she does this WTOC Hometown Hero always tells them the sign that you’ve won the fight is seen in life’s future moments and not when you are told treatments are completed.

“If I’m being honest, it’s not the moment you think it is. I think most people would think or I would have thought beforehand, it’s ok we made it, huge celebration. But after so many months of living in that, you’re almost kind of hesitant to celebrate. You’re always kind of like, but is it really, I would say that it’s been a very gradual experience getting to celebrate. Like I find more joy in it and more excitement the further away we get. "