Meet Your Teammate: Janita Hess


March_blog_sean2Team LIVESTRONG is taking on the 2014 Yuengling Shamrock Marathon Weekend March 15?16. Hear from teammate Janita Hess as she tells us how she got involved with LIVESTRONG and how she honors her loved ones affected by cancer. Join Janita and the other 100 Team LIVESTRONG runners taking on the Virginia Beach run by registering at:

How have you been affected by cancer?

My mother died in 1992 of a brain tumor, and my son, Sean, at 23, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in May of 2012. He had a testicle removed and did chemo until August of 2012. In October of 2013, Sean was found to have two bad spots in his lung. In November of 2013, he had the cancer removed.

Victoria Thatch was my student assistant at Maury High School for the year of 2011. She graduated that year. She had cancer when she was 5. In 2012, while she was at VCU, she was diagnosed with a cancer of the spine due to the radiation she had received as a child. While going through chemo, Sean reffed a high school football game in her honor and to raise money for her treatment. In 2013, a week before the 2nd annual PINK club football game in her honor, Victoria succumbed to her illness and passed away. One of my neighbors, Beth Marshall, has been a close friend of my son. She was very supportive of him during his treatments. In the fall of 2013, she was diagnosed with rectal cancer. My son was devastated—more for her than I ever saw him for himself.


Why did you join Team LIVESTRONG?

I run the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon to celebrate life, to honor the fights of my son, Victoria and Beth, to raise awareness and to give back to LIVESTRONG, who gave me peace of mind after my son’s cancer.

How else have you participated with LIVESTRONG?

They held my hand all the way through my son’s illness.

Have you used LIVESTRONG’s navigation services?

OMG did it help? What, are you joking? I was hit by a truck when my son was diagnosed. I logged on, sent you guys an email of my fears and I had a PHONE CALL back in less than three hours from a LIVESTRONG Navigator. She asked me what I needed, proceeded to get my insurance company on a conference call and got me ALL the information I needed. She  knew to ask questions I had no idea I needed to ask.

What does LIVESTRONG mean to you?


Share one piece of advice you would give to someone affected by cancer.

Call LIVESTRONG when you get up the next day after your diagnosis. Don’t wait. You are scared, you are clueless and you are in pain. No family member is ready to deal with any of this. They are. CALL THEM.

Join Janita and the rest of Team LIVESTRONG at the 2014 Yuengling Shamrock Marathon Weekend by registering at: And if you know anyone we can help with our free, practical services, right now, please refer them to or call 1-855-220-7777.


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