BOSTON (CBS) -- Seven years after a rare tumor nearly took her life, Jen Marchetti is more determined than ever to ride the Pan Mass Challenge and raise money for cancer research at Dana Farber.
Jen says her mission all started when she was cheering on a friend in 2014. It was cold, wet, and miserable. But Jen found herself inspired.
"I realized when I was out there in the rain, I could ride the Pan Mass Challenge," she said.
So, when the time came, Jen signed up for the ride in 2015. Unfortunately, she was about to be tested in a different way. Jen got sick, and for months just never felt good.
"My symptoms were many. And when I say many, you couldn't count on two hands all the things that I had going on. My body was shutting down," she said.
And just two days before her ride in 2015, she got the news she had a rare and potentially deadly tumor on her adrenal gland called pheochromocytoma.
The doctor said she needed surgery and should go home and rest. But, Jen still wanted to honor her commitment to the PMC. Her husband, Joe, stood by her side.
"And I was ready for my husband to say, 'Alright, let's go. We're going home. That's it.' And he didn't. He said, 'What can we do to let her ride one day?"
So, Jen ended up riding that year. A shortened ride that she finished and then fell asleep on the car ride home. But not long after, she realized something.
"I realized how much hope they were giving me. And if they're giving me that? They're giving that to so many others. And that was so important to me that day," she said.
Eventually, Jen had her tumor successfully removed. It's left her with several lifelong health issues, but that is not keeping her from riding the PMC. And this year, she will be honored by giving the Living Proof toast during the PMC ceremonies.
"The reasons just keep growing. Cancer hasn't stopped. So how can I?"
CLICK HERE for more information or donate to Jen's PMC Ride.
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