Home » Commentary » Inspired for a lifetime

Inspired for a lifetime

By Heather Graves
Staff Writer

As a journalist, I spend my days, and sometimes nights, telling the stories of those who live in my community.

For me, it’s more than just words on paper.

Every word has meaning, and those words connect me with the topic or person I am writing about.

When I met 31-year-old Rachael Jenssen, the sometimes long hours my profession demands, constant work-home life balance and deadline-filled days became distant memories.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month – four weeks set aside each year to raise awareness of a disease affecting thousands of Wisconsin women annually.

Rachael was one of those women.

In August, I stumbled across a post regarding a GoFundMe page of an area woman who had breast cancer, through a mutual friend’s Facebook page.

The six degrees of separation we have in the world today, especially because of social media, led me to Rachael and her story of faith, strength and love for everyone around her, which she graciously allowed me to tell.

Rachael was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2020, after finding a lump on her 30th birthday.

When I reached out to her about the possibility of writing a profile on her and her battle with cancer, her appreciation was endless.

She couldn’t believe I’d want to write something about her.

Rachael underwent multiple treatments, several bouts of chemotherapy and radiation, surgery, as well as participated in a specialized treatment program at Oasis of Hope Hospital Treatment Center in Tijuana, Mexico.

Sadly, however, her body couldn’t handle any more and on Oct. 8, Rachel died.

My heart sank when the message came across my phone.

It literally stopped me in my tracks.

I knew she had a tough fight ahead of her, but honestly, the news came as a shock.

The overwhelming amount of posts shared on Rachael’s Facebook page are a true testament of the impact her life journey had on those around her.

A wife, sister, daughter, aunt, co-worker, neighbor and friend, Rachael touched the lives of many.

Though we only spoke on the phone for about 45 minutes, and met only briefly when her sister brought her to The Press Times office to receive copies of the papers where her story graced the front page, the lasting impression Rachael made on my life – both professionally and personally – is one I will carry with me for the rest of my days.

As a journalist you hope the stories you write touch those who read them.

I can confidently say Rachael’s story did just that – to our readers and to myself.

I’m humbled to have had the opportunity to meet Rachael, learn more about the amazing person she was and share her courageous story with the Greater Green Bay community.

Myself and all of us at The Press Times extend our sincerest sympathies to Rachael’s friends, family and all who knew her – our hearts are with you.

Facebook Comments
Scroll to Top