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Q&A with Jamie Cassady, Richmond Hill resident, cancer fighter and recipient of decorating surprise
Jamie Cassady crop
Jamie Cassady - photo by Photo provided.

Q: What is your current situation?
A: I was originally diagnosed with invasive ductile carcinoma, breast cancer, estrogen positive, stage II in April of this year with a 4-centimeter tumor and three positive lymph nodes. Very common, except for my age, and very treatable. Originally, I was told it would be a rough five or six months, but then I would be back to normal. I began chemo the first week in May. After the first 12 weeks were done, the end of July, the doctors at Memorial (University Medical Center in Savannah) reimaged the tumor to find it had barely shrunk. But since there was some shrinkage, they felt good about continuing with the next chemo drug, Taxol. Within two weeks of starting, I noticed the tumor was growing again. Another scan was done, and it confirmed what I felt. Despite the chemo, my cancer was continuing to grow. I was told at this point, in Savannah, there was no other options for me other than surgery, and after surgery, my oncologist would “try” and find a chemo option for me, but was doubtful he would. Over the next few days, all my scans were being repeated to try and see what we were dealing with. I had been praying about what to do, knowing God was in control and had a plan that was bigger than me. During the days following the news, God opened doors and paved a way for me to come to Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Newnan, Georgia.

Q: How did you meet Kandi Jung?
A: I honestly don’t know how I have met Kandi. Being in a small community such as Richmond Hill, that’s one of the nice things, you just kind of know everyone, even if not directly. In the recent months, I have seen her more frequently. Kandi works at Dr. (Robert) Vaught’s office (in Richmond Hill), where my kids see their orthodontist. My mom remembers knowing Kandi from being a teller at the bank years ago.

Q: When did you find out about her plan to decorate the house?
A: I found out the day I drove up into my driveway and noticed beautiful wreaths hanging on my windows and doors. It was the weekend after Thanksgiving. I was coming back with the kids and my mom from Newnan after my first week of radiation treatments. The kids were with me since it was Thanksgiving break. I was completely surprised. It was the greatest gift!

Q: What has that act of generosity meant to you?
A: At the beginning of my journey, I knew God had wanted me to share it. I have known that this journey wasn’t about just me, but it being a way for me to bring God to people I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to. My last journey update, I was sharing a part of my heart from a mom’s perspective. With little time between the treatments, trips to Atlanta and lack of energy, my heart was heavy that the house wouldn’t “feel like Christmas.” The little things moms do to make this time of year feel special for their kids. I was going to fall short this year. I just didn’t want to. Of all years, this year needed to feel like Christmas — for them and for me!

Q: How has this act of generosity given you hope during this holiday season?
A: Kandi is proof that “Earth angels” do exist! Kandi’s act of generosity has made my home feel like a Christmas wonderland, magical and carefree. The few times I’ve been home, I just sit and stare at the twinkling, ribbon-wrapped tree, snuggling my not-so-little babies, and in those moments, everything feels like it’s OK. Kandi’s sacrifice has allowed me these moments.

Q: Do you have any special words of thanks you would like to mention?
A: I often say lately “thank you” just doesn’t seem like enough. I need different words to express the overwhelming thankfulness I feel. To know Kandi and the other ladies took days — days during their families’ Thanksgiving break — to come create Christmas in my home is so humbling. How do you thank someone for not just decorating your house, but for creating such a magical feeling deep inside? I’m so thankful for Kandi and others that helped for their sacrifice, their love and their talents used to bless my family so that when I am home, I am able to enjoy this time of year and, for some brief moments, forget the not-so-pretty stuff we are facing. “Thank you” just isn’t enough!

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