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Update: On May 5, 2014 Jenna Blaisdell Hinman lost her courageous battle against cancer. Her will was strong, but her body was tired. We will continue to support Brandon, Azlynn and Kinleigh by raising money and selling t-shirts. We will be putting a ton of money away into college funds for the girls, everyday expenses, and just to help make this transition without Jenna, a little bit easier. Thank you to everyone.
Our friend Jenna Blaisdell Hinman is in need of your love, support, and prayers. She is currently fighting for her life at Crouse Hospital in Syracuse, NY. Her husband, US Army SGT Brandon Hinman, freshly returned from Afghanistan, is standing dutifully by her side while also caring for their newborn twin girls. The "Prayers for Jenna" Facebook page that we created currently has over 253,000 followers. Please take a moment to read Jenna's heroic story, which is sure to touch your heart.
Jenna was in her 30th week of pregnancy when she went into premature labor on March 3rd 2014. Jenna was rushed to the Emergency Room and delivered her twin baby girls within an hour of arrival via emergency C-section. Due to the babies’ premature birth, they were whisked away to the NICU with Jenna only getting a quick glimpse of her newborns - Kinleigh Anne Hinman (2 pounds 9 ounces) and Azlynn Mary Hinman (3 pounds 6 ounces), both in good health. Soon after the delivery Jenna began having difficulty breathing and the situation quickly escalated from fear that she had pneumonia to a realization that she was fighting for her very life. Jenna was placed in a medically induced coma on Thursday, March 6th 2014. It was then that the family learned that Jenna is suffering from a rare, pregnancy-related cancer called choriocarcinoma, which had filled her body with tumors and lesions. The cancer has been complicated by a chest/lung infection, which degraded her lung function so severely that they were rendered temporarily useless. To combat this lethal cancer/infection combination the Crouse Hospital ICU formed a team of prestigious medical professionals, both local and international, that flew in to treat her.
The team immediately started her on heavy, aggressive doses of chemotherapy and launched an unprecedented medical intervention called ECMO (Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation). The ECMO machine essentially removed blood from her body, oxygenated it, and then pumped it back through the veins since her lungs could no longer do it. These lifesaving efforts were essential, though they came with their own set of risks. Jenna’s infected lungs were bleeding, which was exacerbated by the chemotherapy, and for the ECMO machine to run properly blood thinners were necessary to stop the tubes from filling with dangerous clots – putting Jenna at great risk for uncontrolled bleeding.
Jenna remained intubated and in the medically induced coma for several weeks while the chemotherapy took effect. As her lungs cleared, the team slowly weened her body off of the ECMO machine until they successfully removed it on April 8, 2014. Eventually Jenna was brought out of the medically induced coma and a tracheotomy replaced the intubation.
Though Jenna's cancer count has continuously dropped, from 2,000,000 when diagnosed to only 113 today, she is still gravely ill and incredibly weak. This roller coaster ride that began March 3rd has shaken Jenna's family to the core and pushed them to the brink of what people can endure. The Hinman twins spent 6 weeks in the NICU, just a few floors above Jenna, and it was an incredible blessing that they were so close so the family could be near mommy and the girls. The twins have since been discharged and are living with Jenna's parents - leaving Brandon to split his time between caring for his new babies and supporting his beloved wife in the ICU. Brandon was called back to duty at Fort Drum, NY on April 22nd, which was heart wrenching for him. Thankfully, he reported for duty only to be ordered back to Syracuse to be with his wife and their sweet babies.
Jenna is the most kindhearted, caring, compassionate, and beautiful person - both inside and out. Jenna has dedicated her professional life to helping others each day as a Recreation Therapist working with psychologically wounded warriors. Today as we write to you, Jenna has experienced a major setback just as her family and friends began to see light at the end of the tunnel. Jenna has developed pneumonia and her medical team is urgently scrambling to treat this infection, which could ultimately cost her her life, as they have her ventilator turned up to the highest possible level and there's "nothing more" they can do to help her breathe.
Jenna has an amazing spirit and continues to fight this cancer with everything she's got.