Kim Jewett's 6-year-old daughter had a simple request one
"Mommy, can you tuck me into bed?" asked the girl.
"I'm sorry," replied Jewett, weak from repeated chemotherapy
treatments. "I'm just too sick and too tired."
"Mommy, you're always too tired," her daughter said with
puppy-dog eyes. "You don't tuck me into bed anymore."
The Plainfield mom told her daughter to head toward bed while
she tried to muster the strength to get off her recliner.
"OK, I'll be there in a minute," she told her.
After Jewett finally made her way to her daughter's room, she
overheard her little girl praying.
"Dear God…" the girl whispered. "Please give Mommy strength to
fight breast cancer."
Jewett fell to her knees, broke down into tears, and also
"Dear God…" Jewett pleaded. "Please give me the strength so my
6-year-old daughter doesn't have to pray for my survival."
This took place in 2008 and, in time, both their prayers were
answered. But not before Jewett, at 31, underwent a bilateral
mastectomy with reconstruction and six months of chemotherapy. All
while caring for her daughter Kalli Bogard, now 11, and son, Tyler,
"I quickly realized after my diagnosis that I still need to
raise my children," says Jewett, now 36. "They still need me on a
daily basis. It's impossible to lose sight of this."
Her children proved to be resilient through the ordeal, even
after a promise she made to them couldn't be fulfilled.
"I promised them no more cancer, but it turned out I lied," says
Jewett, who was diagnosed again in early 2012 with cancer in her
Again she went through chemo treatments. Again she
was tired and sick. But this time her children better understood.
They rallied around her.
While some parents shelter their children from the scary world
of cancer, Jewett used the experience as an opportunity to educate
her kids about life, love, and giving back to others.
"It's the power of being thoughtful," Jewett explains.
Together, they make blankets and deliver them to cancer patients
in local hospitals. As cancer survivors know, chemo treatments
typically leave patients cold to the bone. The project is so
successful that her children's school has adopted it as its
community service project.
"The experience can be empowering and inspiring for children,"
says Jewett, who will be taking part in the Komen Chicago Race for
the Cure on Mother's Day.
Her daughter already has been empowered and inspired.For a
recent school project, Kalli was asked what she wants to be when
she grows up.
"I would like to be a medical oncologist because my mom had
breast cancer," she wrote. "I want to help others like the doctors
who helped my mom beat it twice. And I would like to help other
kids not worry about their parents."