First year woman will 'Climb to Conquer Cancer' for self

First year woman will 'Climb to Conquer Cancer' for self

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PHOENIX -

Thousands of people will be hiking South Mountain in the Climb to Conquer Cancer on Saturday.

Every year we hear different stories of survival leading up to the climb.

An incredible young woman named Jen Baldi has done the climb year after year to help support cancer research; she's very passionate about finding a cure.

But, this year is the first year of the climb that she actually has cancer herself.

"In March of last year I found a lump just above my collar bone and I was pregnant," said Baldi

Within a week, Jen delivered her daughter Rachel, biopsied the lump and received her diagnosis.

"I knew enough to know that Hodgkins Lymphoma was cancer but I really didn't know what my prognosis would be. I didn't know if I would live to see her go to kindergarten," said Baldi.

With no time to waste, Baldi started chemo immediately, her husband started working from home and family members rallied to help, even strangers came by to lend a hand.

But with all the help, came fear of what seemed like an uphill fight.

"Chemo was really hard, they have chemo education and they tell you this could happen or that could happen, but that's not gonna happen to you because you're young. And I had everything! I had everything that they mentioned, I had it," said Baldi.

"My biggest concern, I guess, was that all these other people were around and I was scared she wouldn't bond with me because after I had chemo, I wasn't able to hold her for 48 hours," said Baldi.  

With insomnia, nausea, sores and almost unbearable sickness, Jen decided to do something for her daughter.

"I started writing her letters." said Baldi. "I would--write to her and tell her how much I loved her. I never wrote anything like I would be gone, just this is what you're doing this week, it's so fun to watch you do this and those kinda things."

After two rounds of chemo, Baldi's doctor laid out her treatment options.

"The doctor told me if I wanted to stop, I could stop and we'd go to radiation and I would have an 85 percent chance. But if I did more chemo and then radiation, I'd have a 90 percent chance. And so we decided that the 10 percent chance was worth me living and seeing my daughter grow up," said Baldi.

Two more rounds of chemo and four weeks of radiation, and Jen and her family are hopeful that any day now, they'll get the word that she's cancer free.

So, this Climb to Conquer Cancer has new meaning, it's been a long road but things are already looking up.

"She knows me and she loves me and that was the biggest concern. But, it wasn't really a concern because she knows me and she knows who her mom is," said Baldi.

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