"O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?"
~ 1 Corinthians 15:55
It is with tears still in my eyes and a heavy heart that I write this. Yesterday morning, my dear friend and AΔΧ sister Jennie 'excalibur' Yang went to be with our Father. She passed away in her sleep, which is what she wanted.
As another sorority sister wrote, "Jennie did not lose this battle with cancer. She fought until King Jesus swept her up into His arms, and there, she is made new." While my heart aches, at the same time, I cannot help but also but be reminded in joy that Jennie is dancing up a storm in Heaven right now, with her new, pure and cancer-free body, unhindered by the pain and cares of this world (and her cool sword-cane).
She was the epitome of what it means to "Fight On." She had Li Fraumeni syndrome, a genetic disease that made her susceptible to getting multiple types of cancer throughout her life. Jennie's first cancer, malignant fibrous histeocytoma, was diagnosed in June of 1989. Her second cancer, osteosarcoma, was diagnosed in November of 2004. Jennie had tumors in both her left and right hips, and her resulting surgeries caused her to walk with a cane. Her third cancer, glioblastoma, her sophomore year of college at USC, Halloween night. I still remember we were going to be Mulan and Mushu for Halloween until she was admitted into the hospital. About a month later, her osteosarcoma returned. About two years later, her osteosarcoma spread to her lungs. At the end of 2012, her glioblastoma also relapsed in the right frontal lobe. She was later also diagnosed with breast cancer. This past year she was on chemo and radiation, and also endured and overcame a severe bout of meningitis. About a month ago her brain cancer was found to have spread to most of the top part of her brain, and was pronounced untreatable. Even while her body began to lose its functions, her mom still wrote that Jennie would be smiling even as she slept. She endured more than anyone should ever have to endure, but in it and through it all, she never lost her joy, her faith, and her fighting spirit.
I was extremely blessed to have the opportunity to visit her in Colorado in July, when she was still able to walk and hang out. We enjoyed my mother's homemade cookies and Mauna Loa chocolate macadamia nuts from Hawaii, reminisced on good times from SC, and laughed at our inability to take good "selfie" pics together. At SC, I was blessed with the opportunity to be in her accountability group in AΔΧ (where we mostly spent our time watching "Kittens Inspired by Kittens" and other silly Youtube videos with Theresa Lee) and to live with her in the AΔΧ house. She loved hugs, laughter, dancing and being ridiculous. She loved life, her friends, and most of all her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
She will forever live on as an inspiration to every person she ever met. More than anyone I've ever known, she "fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith." The Lord blessed this world with her presence many more years than any of us expected. She is a reminder to all of us to make the most of every day and every moment, to fill our lives with laughter and whimsy and love, and to take every opportunity to tell those we care about how much we love them.
So I want to tell each of you how much you and your prayers have meant to me, Jennie and her family. Thank you so much for all your love, prayers and support. There are no words to describe how blessed I am to have you in my life.
“In sorrow we must go, but not in despair. Behold! we are not bound for ever to the circles of the world, and beyond them is more than memory.” ~ J.R.R. Tolkien
Warm up the dance floor for me in Heaven, my dear sister. I cannot wait to party with you again someday.
AΔΧ Invite 2008
AΔΧ Halloween Party 2008, after winning the pie-eating contest
Hanging out at the AΔΧ house
AΔΧ Beach Day
AΔΧ Spring Invite
My last time with Jennie, July 2013
Fight On Forever, Jennie. A hui hou.