Jenna was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a form of bone cancer, when she was just four years old. Along with chemotherapy treatment, she also had her left leg amputated. The medical term for the amputation is rotationplasty, but she likes to say “my foot is backwards.” Not only does it sound cooler, she says, but it is easier to understand.
Cancer has affected her life in numerous ways. There is no doubt in her mind that it has made her the strong, caring, and motivated person she is today. Having a prosthetic causes people to judge you as “handicapped” but that never stopped her. She started competitive cheerleading when she was 10 years old and continued into high school. She was part of a national winning squad and she could do everything that anyone else on the team could. “You can’t” was not a sentence she heard growing up.
It was her own experience with cancer that drove her to want to become a nurse, and now she is going into her senior year of college as a nursing major. Her goal is to become an oncology nurse, and from there her intentions are to bring the love, care, and joy to the sick children that they need. She also thinks it would be great for a patient to have a nurse that literally knows what they are going through because she has been there.
Having had the rotationplasty so early in its existence gave Jenna the opportunity to show parents and their sick child what it exactly is and how well she does with it. She has met several families throughout the years that are stuck with the same hard decision that her parents were—which amputation is best? When these families meet her face to face, they are able to see her not only walk, but also run, skip, jump, and even back flip! Even if the family decides to go with another option, she still feels great joy knowing that she was able to help in some way.
Jenna says her experience with NOPCO (now Boston O&P) has been outstanding. In her 17 years as a patient, she has never had a negative experience. The entire staff is always friendly. The NOPCO team works as hard as they can to not only create the prosthetic that you want but while doing so they take into consideration your comfort. She has had the pleasure to work with Chris and says he is absolutely fantastic! She has had prosthetics that take several visits to complete because she didn’t like the way something felt or fit, or because she just didn’t like something and changed her mind. Whatever the case, Jenna says Chris is always smiling and patient. "You can tell in his voice that he really cares about you and wants you to be completely satisfied with the end result."
NOPCO’s prosthetics have allowed Jenna to do my back flips and jumps in cheerleading, spend her summers at the beach, and most importantly, be a normal child.