Jennifer did so much to make this world a better place. She was compassionate, smart, funny, and she had a heart of gold. For her entire life, Jennifer fought for the underdog. She believed in the goodness of people. And Jennifer made those around her feel special, and loved.
As a nurse, she provided exceptional care to many. Her medical career was varied and - like her - unique. Among other things, Jennifer worked with AIDS patients involved in clinical trials, was an ER nurse at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, engaged in research on mitochondrial diseases, and was a school nurse in a Minneapolis High School. Jennifer’s real love, however, was music. In addition to her remarkable skills and gifts as a nurse, Jennifer was also a truly talented musician. She was a natural performer who easily captivated her audience. Jennifer was a founding member of the Atlanta band, “A Few Degrees”, and experienced some of her most proud and happy moments writing and performing their works.
In May of 2006, Jennifer was diagnosed with mucosal melanoma. This rare type of cancer is often caught in the late stages of the disease, and – at the time of her diagnosis - her prognosis was poor. She educated herself and made informed decisions about her medical treatments. Throughout her ordeal, Jennifer had surgeries, chemotherapy, and participated in clinical trials. She faced this disease with absolute poise and vigor. Jennifer never gave up. But after almost 2 years of fighting, the melanoma was too much. Jennifer died peacefully in home hospice care, with her family surrounding her. She was only 41 years old.
Jennifer’s optimism and hope throughout her illness was constant. While she, of course, experienced times of fear and frustration, she never allowed her illness to defeat her spirit. Jennifer lived fully, loved in abundance, and left an indelible mark on all of those who knew her.
** Below are three original songs from the album "Smarter" by A Few Degrees (copyright 2002 Shoffner/Graham). I hope you'll enjoy hearing her captivating voice as she engaged in one of her favorite things to do.