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Keeping the Faith




Submitted by:
Nina Paleologos

I hereby nominate Jennifer Williams for a 2018 Keeping the Faith Award. I have known Jennifer since she was 13, long before she was diagnosed with her brain tumor, an oligodendroglioma. The way that I first met Jennifer was because I took care of her father. He too had an oligodendroglioma. I was his neuro oncologist for many years. She grew up in a family affected by her father’s brain tumor. She was just about 13 years old when he was diagnosed.  Yet all the time I cared for him, and saw Jennifer and her sister periodically, she never seemed put upon or resentful of the limitations that her father had or the limitations and difficulties that resulted from that diagnosis to her and her family. Then, in December of 2009, her brain tumor was diagnosed. She has done just beautifully – it’s just about 10 years later – but she has had her challenges  She underwent surgery, and then only 3-4 months later, Jennifer’s wonderful mother, the rock of their family and Jennifer’s major supporter suddenly died. She and her sister and father were devastated by this. None the less, Jennifer remained stoic. She underwent chemotherapy, and later, in 2012 required another surgery. She has had Radiation and more chemotherapy. She has had seizures at times. Her beloved father passed away in 2015. Despite all of these challenges, what has struck me about Jennifer are these things: What an optimist she is and how she has never once acted as though she felt,  or has ever said,  “why me”.  She always has a smile on her face. She has donated much time to others with brain tumors. She has mentored them and she has volunteered at multiple brain tumor educational and support events in the years that I have known her. She now has her wonderful partner Sam, a professional photographer, also volunteering and taking pictures of brain tumor events.  She always helps. Anyone. Everyone. It is for all of those reasons and for how bravely, stoically and optimistically she has lived her life that I feel she is extremely deserving of this award.