Jenny Hack is using her crafting skills to take advantage of her prolonged life after being diagnosed with an incurable cancer in 2011.
In 2011, Jenny Hack was told she had one year to live.
“I said to the doctor, ‘Well, I believe in miracles,’” she said.
At age 62, the doctor had told her that she had stage 3 Multiple Myeloma, which is an incurable cancer of the plasma in bone marrow.
Hack said that most patients get bone marrow transplants that can stop the progression, but there’s no guarantee. She decided that she wanted to enjoy her last year of life instead of spending time getting transplants.
She joined the International Myeloma Foundation and found local support groups in Palm Coast and Jacksonville.
Over the last seven years, Hack has taken part in four clinical trials for patients with MM. She said the trials have helped her fight through her relapses. Two of the clinical trials have been approved by the Federal Drug Administration as well.
“It did help other people. It is standard protocol now,” Hack said about the FDA-approved trials. “That made me feel good because I figured that’s what I’m thinking of, I could help others. I didn’t think I could help myself to tell you the truth, but it did.”
At age 69, the Palm Coast resident is currently participating in her fourth clinical trial after relapsing about a month and a half ago. The trial lets her spend more time at home, which has given her more time with two of her seven grandchildren.
In early November 2017, Hack started to use her free time to create colorful, seasonal wreaths with 15-year-old Avianna Rosamonda and 13-year-old Kairi Harris in the back room that her husband Bill Hack closed in for her after she was diagnosed, to use for meditation, relaxation and, now, crafts.
“I’m lucky to have two grandchildren who are creative,” she said. “They’re happy to help Grandma.”
During her first two months of making wreaths over the holidays with her little elves, Hack was able to sell about 20 wreaths to make $1,000, all of which she donated to IMF.
“It’s fun, and it makes her happy,” Rosamonda said about working with her grandma.
On Hack’s living room wall, a wreath with sunflowers hangs big and bright. In the wreaths’ center, the words “Today is a blessing” are displayed on an inspirational piece of artwork. It’s how she lives her life.
“In my heart, the only thing I can leave my kids and my family is memories,” she said.
Bill and Jenny Hack just celebrated their 49th anniversary on March 8. She said her goal is to make it to their 50th.
While this trial has been harder on her than previous ones, Hack said she’s pushing through.
“I keep thinking, if we don’t do trials and we just do transplants, nothing is going to change,” she said. “And that’s why I really like to put some kind of emphasis on clinical trials because that’s the only way it’s going to be cured.”
Hack said she’s been very lucky, as some people only last months while others can last years.
“That’s why I figure God’s not done with me,” she said.