By Dion, Jenn's Boyfriend
Jennifer Lyon was known by her family and friends as a fierce competitor and the gritty, yet collaborative, "survivor" she proved to be long before her appearance on the CBS reality show.
Few, if any of those who knew her, could deny that Jenn's smile would invariably warm up a room of any size, and that her commitment to friendship strengthening, fun-filled activities with those in her life would always find a special way into peoples' hearts. Her vivacious personality and loyalty to friends reminded us all that nourishing meaningful relationships in our lives is of paramount importance. But in 2005, when Jenn was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer at the age of 32, it was what she accomplished in the next 5 years that Jenn's true strength and wisdom far beyond her years became glaringly evident. Jenn donated much of her time and energy, amidst exhausting bouts with chemotherapy and other treatments, speaking at various cancer benefit charities. Jenn discovered in her battle against the disease that there is no substitute for true support during such trying times. She also felt that with the increasing cases of breast cancer today, as well as other forms of the disease, cancer research and development is more important now than ever before. Jenn paid particular attention to the emotional experience she faced during her struggle with the disease. She often commented on, and reached out to improve upon the ways in which cancer patients are handled and processed; in her view, much too insensitively. No doubt, as a patient who fought heroically, Jenn would have welcomed and condoned a resource like "Michelle's Place" knowing that while any fight against cancer will inevitably have it's challenges, the benefits gained of having directly applicable, helpful information as well as support with a personal touch, addressing specific emotional and psychological issues could not be overstated. Jenn lost her battle to breast cancer on January 19, 2010, but leaves behind the inspiring memory of a steadfast fighter but beneficent friend, often times thinking of those who might face the same struggles she fought, and how she might improve the lives of others who come to face similar struggles.