CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A rare full-circle story: two moms in two different states had the same rare kind of cancer. One saved the other, and now both are working to save others.
Charlotte mom Jenn Andrews went public with her story — the cancerous lump on her foot discovered during a pedicure while she was pregnant with her second child and the difficult decision to amputate.
"Never did I think telling this story could save someone’s life, in my mind, it was more about let this person feel not alone and let them know they’re going to be ok," Andrews said.
Her cancer was so rare that WCNC Charlotte reporter Michelle Boudin wrote about Andrews for People magazine.
"I remember reading it and saying, 'I really hope this lump isn’t cancerous,' and my mom said, 'You’re just being paranoid,'" Michelle Sorbello said.
Sorbello, who lives in Florida, was pregnant with her first child and worried about a lump on her foot. Her doctors had downplayed it.
"Knowing Jenn’s story, reading it helped me prepare to push for additional testing," Sorbello said.
Months after discovering it, Sorbello learned she too had cancer – and ultimately needed to amputate her foot as well.
"Reading her story gave me peace and knowing how active she was – I knew amputation would give me a quality of life," Sorbello said. "I live my life, I enjoy my life, I can run and play with my daughter — so amputation was the best option for me."
Now the two women are teaming up. Andrews started the Move for Jenn Foundation, a non-profit that gives away activewear prosthetics, running blades, and more to amputees who lost a limb to cancer.
The annual 5K fundraiser is next month and Sorbello plans to make that her first run on her new blade.
"I'm excited," Sorbello said. "No matter what, I’m out there and moving."
"When it affects somebody else’s life — can save somebody’s life, that makes all of this process worth it," Andrews said.
For more information on the 5K, click here. The fundraiser helps pay for running blades that are not covered by insurance and can cost up to $50,000 apiece.