The news of Jody Kipp’s death hit the pit of my stomach with a big thud. I was driving back to Clare from out-of-state, Sunday morning. Although we all knew the end was near, but to lose a vivacious, funloving young lady like Jody- well you just look to the man upstairs and ask why?
Jody was diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer, a couple of years ago. I remember at the time, although it was a complete shock because Jody has always been very healthy, she vowed to fight until she had rid her body of the terrible disease.
Only 41 at the time, Jody had to make some quick decisions. Having lived in Harrison all of her life, she was fortunate to have most of her family close by to help her. She had to quit her job at the Houghton Lake Walmart- a job she had held for many years…. And she and her longtime boyfriend, Rod, after an exhaustive review of all the possibilities, decided her best treatment option was the Cancer Treatment Center of America in Atlanta, Georgia.
Thus they made the journey to Atlanta, every month for two years to get treatment. At first it seemed like the cancer was dissipating, but in the end, it simply began to spread, and spread fast, throughout her body. Hope and happiness, gave way to a since of reality that Stage 4 is nearly impossible to beat.
Jody, with the assistance of her family, tried several holistic approaches. When the cancer had spread to her liver, they utilized radioactive beads to try to shrink the tumors. Rod and others regularly searched the internet for medicine that might proclaim to help fight the growing cancer.
All the while, the very attractive Jody was slowly losing her body mass. The fight had not only exhausted her mentally, but was cruelly shriveling her body. However, she kept hoping and her boyfriend, ever the optimist, kept everyone’s spirits high.
Two months and four days before she passed, on one of their last trips to Atlanta, Jody and Rod tied the knot. It was a simple ceremony without fanfare, but after all their time together, it only seemed right. I don’t think there was a soul who wasn’t happy for them.
Jody will rest in peace, in a better place, knowing that she lived a good life and fought hard to beat cancer. The disease continues to ravage women and men, young and old, rich and poor- it simply plays no favorites.
As a concerned citizen you can do something about it. Research is the number one priority of the American Cancer Society. The more money earned for research, the sooner a cure will be found for cancer, and the sooner good people like Jody will not suffer.
The Society is sponsoring its annual Relay for Life August 9, at Harrison High School, beginning with opening ceremonies at 10 a.m. After the ceremonies, cancer survivors will walk and jog around the track in an effort to earn funds for the Cancer Society.
At 10 p.m., the Luminaria ceremony will begin. If you haven’t seen this it is a powerful visual display as participants hold high their luminaries to those that have died from cancer, as well as those still fighting. If there is a dry eye in the house, I’ve yet to see it.
Cancer continues to take those that are close to us. We as a society must find a cure to end the suffering so that good people like Jody Kipp can live long and productive lives.