So…who am I?

That’s a good question these days. Oh, I’m Shellee, born Michele Lee Jenkins, back a few years ;) Daughter, Sister, Friend, Administrative Assistant, Volunteer, Advocate, and now, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s 2014 Woman of the Year Candidate! Grew up in Ohio but longed to return to California (we lived here briefly when I was 5). So, on my 18th birthday, return we did; long story we’ll save for another time. Between 1983 and 2002, life happened. If I spelled it all out here, it would sound pretty “normal”, boring even; got a job, turned 21, shacked up, got married, got divorced, and THEN, life threw a curve ball…

On August 10, 2002, I was sitting on the deck of the Queen Mary watching the Catalina Ski race when my cell phone rang and life as I knew it would never be the same…

Seventeen days, multiple scans and biopsies later, my baby sister, was diagnosed with Stage IIIb Hodgkins Lymphoma and had her first chemo treatment.

Her journey, and my part in it, changed who I am as a person. In 2010, I had my own encounter with cancer; stage 1 breast cancer. Thankfully, because of my sister’s experiences, I was diagnosed early and am cancer free today after a lumpectomy and radiation. My sister saved my life (thanks Punkin/xo).

On October 16, 2011, Liz took her Angel wings, and so my journey continues as I learn to navigate the unimaginable grief of losing my precious baby sister, child I never had, my best friend, and confidant. I have only begun to realize the bond we had, just how much I depended on her, and the hole her passing has left in my life.

The one thing I have found is a passion for keeping her memory alive and for finding a cure for this misunderstood disease. I have made it my mission to spread her message, “Love My Life” and continue fighting for a cure because no one should know this pain…


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