Come Walk with Jessica
When Jessica Jamison was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ — one of the earliest forms of breast cancer, where the cells lining the breast’s milk ducts are malignant but stationary — her 4-year-old son Adam was sitting quietly by her side.
Jessica, her husband Stuart and Adam had recently moved to Washington, and the little boy often tagged along with Mom.
“Adam knew that at my appointments, he had to be quiet unless he was asked a question,” Jessica says. “And when we got to the car, he was allowed to ask questions. I explained that there were bad cells in my breast, that the surgeon was going to remove them. He asked if it would hurt, and I said no because I would be in a special sleep. He asked if that was like Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) in Maleficent, and I said yes — I told him I would then wake up and heal.”
Jessica’s “special sleep” occurred during step one of treatment: A lumpectomy at MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital to remove a tumor in each of her breasts, along with five lymph nodes. While one lump was benign, the other was stage 0, grade three, meaning that the malignant cells appear abnormal and may grow or spread aggressively.
Zapping cancer cells at Puyallup’s donor-supported cancer resource center
Next came radiation therapy at the Good Samaritan Cancer Resource Center, which is supported by generous donations through MultiCare Good Samaritan Foundation. Jessica described this cancer treatment process to Adam as: “Special X-rays that would zap any remaining possible cancer cells surgery may have missed.”
“He was intrigued,” she adds. “I took him with me to radiation, and he sat in the waiting room because sessions are pretty short. Staff let him come in and showed him what everything did, and he liked coming home and telling his dad all that he saw.”
The level of care and empathy shown to Adam characterized Jessica’s entire treatment journey, with her Good Samaritan surgeon being a particular standout.
“My oncology surgeon is phenomenal,” Jessica shares. “She put my mind at ease, and if I ever have to have any other surgery, I’m going to request her.”
Spreading positivity at Come Walk With Me
Following one radiation treatment session, Jessica and Adam discovered a small pink rock resembling a chewed M&M just outside the cancer resource center. On the back were the words, “Take a bite out of cancer.”
“This rock gave me an extra smile and it made me feel good and I wanted to reciprocate,” Jessica explains. “So, my little boy and I painted about a dozen rocks of our own. On my last day of radiation treatments, we hid them in the same area — we were hoping that other cancer patients or maybe family or friends would find them, and it would bring joy to them, as well.”
Jessica and Adam so loved decorating rocks and hiding them in plain sight that they connected with the social group Bonney Lake Rocks. Last October, they placed rocks with positive messages for breast cancer patients and survivors to find along the route for Come Walk With Me (CWWM), Good Samaritan Foundation’s annual 5K in support of local breast cancer programs and services.
Today, Jessica is in remission and has joined the CWWM committee to deepen her engagement with her community.
“By supporting oncology services close to home, you can help remove physical and emotional barriers for patients,” Jessica says. “CWWM is fun and positive — it’s exciting to see a bunch of people wearing pink and walking. I love feeling like I‘m part of a community that’s supportive of one another.”