By Sheri Gassaway
Family and friends of Jeannie Haefner, a 16-year-member of IBEW Local 1, are hosting a fundraiser for the 39-year-old new mom who is undergoing treatment for an aggressive form of breast cancer.
The event will be held this Saturday, Jan. 30 at VFW Post 2866, 66 VFW Lane in St. Charles. It will begin at 6 p.m. and include mouse races, live and silent auctions and a 50-50 raffle. St. Louis Cardinals’ Fred Bird and the Cardinal Cowboy are also scheduled to make an appearance.
Haefner, a third-generation Local 1 member, was diagnosed with the disease in October. She and her spouse Jess welcomed their first child into the world on Jan. 4 – a 9-pound, 7-ounce baby boy named William.
Tracy Livingston, Haefner’s cousin, is coordinating the fundraiser. She said Haefner, who works at Diversified Electrical Services, has been unable to work since undergoing treatments and has had to go on disability.
“Medical bills and co-pays have been extremely costly, and they are causing a financial burden that is overshadowing what should be a celebrated time in her life – the birth of her child,” Livingston said.
Because Haefner has a family history of breast cancer, she’s taken a proactive approach to breast health. She had a mammogram in March, which found no abnormalities. But at the end of September, she noticed a lump.
“I got in to see my doctor the very next day,” Haefner said. “They diagnosed it as Stage 2B Triple-negative breast cancer, and by that time, it had already spread to some of my lymph nodes.”
Haefner had the affected nodes removed and is currently undergoing chemotherapy. She is scheduled to have a double mastectomy in April, which will be followed by radiation treatments.
THE MIRACLE OF BABY WILL
For five long and emotionally draining years, Jeannie and Jess had been trying to complete their family. They had all but depleted their life savings in doing so and then that learned in vitro fertilization – a complex series of procedures used to assist with the conception of a child – was their only option.
That’s when they decided to ask for donations to help them on their journey through the crowdfunding platform gofundme.com. They raised just over $6,400 and were able to make their first appointment with a specialist. Shortly afterward, Jess became pregnant with Baby Will.
“Our goal with the fundraiser is to make this time in Jeannie and her spouse’s life focused on welcoming their new child into their lives and NOT about cancer,” Livingston said.
Tickets to the Jan. 30 fundraiser are $20 for adults and $10 for children. Beer, soda, popcorn and pretzels will be provided. Pulled pork sandwiches and pulled pork nachos will be available for purchase. Guests may bring their own food, but
If you can’t make the event but would still like to help, you can make a donation at gofundme.com/jeannieheafner. For more information on the event, visit cancersucksfightforjeannie.com or call Livingston at 314-651-3155.