On Mother’s Day 2007, a day usually filled with happiness and celebration, Maria Jimmison found a lump in her right breast. The life of this young, 29-year-old mother of three beautiful children – Danielle, Devin, and Dallas – was about to radically change. She immediately went to the doctor, who conducted a series of scans and tests that ultimately concluded she had Stage 2 metastatic breast cancer. Because her cancer was growing rapidly, her doctors opted to have her start chemotherapy and radiation treatments right away. Her treatments began July 4, 2007, and lasted nine months. The side effects during Maria’s chemo and radiation treatments were brutal; she couldn’t eat or sleep and lost her hair, fingernails, and toenails. Once her tumor was deemed cancer-free and had shrunk significantly in size, they removed it through surgery. Maria has now been in remission since 2008 – and faithfully takes her daily medications and sees her oncologist twice a year.
For Maria, her biggest struggle during her trial with cancer was seeing her children have to experience cancer and its ill effects. The radical lifestyle change was also difficult – from going to school, working, and being an active mom to feeling sick and not being able to do much. Her mom, Jackie, was and remains her source of strength. Upon Maria’s diagnosis, Jackie stated she wished she could take this cancer from her, and carry that burden herself. To Maria, that just reiterated how strong a mother’s love really is. Maria also drew closer to God during this time. “My mom was there for me physically, but God really helped me from a spiritual standpoint. I never asked Him why, I just trusted Him to see me through this.” Maria also thanks the rest of her family, friends, and prayer partners for their unfailing support.
For her garden, Maria chose pink and white vinca, which to her symbolize faith, courage, and peace. They are planted in the shape of the breast cancer ribbon – with pink violets in the center and white outlining it.
Maria stresses that cancer is not the end; it’s the beginning of a new life. “It is so important to rely on God when going through something like this. He’ll give you the faith, hope, and courage you need to be victorious over any obstacle that comes along to destroy you.”