Jacqueline at prom with family and friends standing in front of a fountain.

#AmazingIs Stories, Mighty Blog

Jacqueline continues to inspire others through cancer journey

Jacqueline Englund was 16-years-old when she began experiencing severe leg and back pain. As a former figure skater, she didn’t think much of it at first. However, after multiple CT scans and MRI’s, Jacqueline was referred to Children’s where she was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a type of cancer that grows in bones or soft tissue and can develop anywhere in the body.

Jacqueline today
Jacqueline in hospital bed opening a gift during treatment time at Children's Minnesota.
Jacqueline and one of her care team members doing hair at Children's Minnesota.

“It wasn’t until after the first round of chemo that I understood the gravity of the situation,” says Jacqueline.

Her care team tried several different treatment plans, including radiation and multiple surgeries with no success. Eventually, they recommended a stem cell transplant completed elsewhere.

Jacqueline spent a little less than two years undergoing treatment at Children’s. Even though the circumstances were difficult, Jacqueline says the staff and services at Children’s were incredible.

“Children’s became like a second home to me during treatment,” says Jacqueline. “I developed incredible friendships and had such a high level of trust with my care team during treatment. They became like a second family and seemed to work tirelessly to make sure that I was getting the best care possible.”

Jacqueline and her family would always joke that staying in the inpatient unit was like living in the dorms where she got to see all of her favorite nurses and friends all the time. When she had to stay overnight in the hospital, Jacqueline’s dad was able to join her. Oftentimes, when the family would arrive the nurses would have already set up his bed and would have her room all ready.

As a high school student undergoing treatment, the Children’s staff was dedicated to keeping her life as close to normal as possible. They encouraged her to participate in all the activities she would have done if she hadn’t been on treatment.

Jacqueline, with her family, dressed up for prom

“We made incredible friendships with my care team, and they were always eager to hear what my family was up to outside of treatment – asking about my high school boyfriend and ‘teenage drama.’”

Seeing familiar faces throughout her journey gave Jacqueline and her family a great feeling of support and reassurance.

At one point during her treatment, her care team approached her family to see if there was any way they could help financially. Though the Englunds didn’t have big expenses like a mortgage or car payment, the team at Children’s decided it would be great to help pay for Jacqueline’s prom dress through the Cancer Kids Fund.

“Between my care team rearranging my treatment schedule so I was able to feel good for prom and the Cancer Kids Fund helping pay for my dress, I was able to have a fantastic night and forget about my treatments for an evening.”

Jacqueline is now in remission. Inspired by her care team, she’s joined the Cancer and Blood Disorders team at Children’s as the Adolescent and Young Adult Program Coordinator.

“Having been in the exact same situation as these patients, I know that I came out of it a stronger person. I wanted to be able to share my experience with others and provide an incredible level of trust and support,” she says.

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Rachel Patterson