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A mother’s love

Senior reflects on his mother’s fight with breast cancer
submitted photo
Jennifer Unger sits by her peers during one of her treatments for cancer. Unger broke the news to her son, Tyler Unger, in April of 2023.

As his mother broke the news that she was diagnosed with breast cancer, tears began streaming down senior Tyler Unger’s face. A rush of anxiety overwhelmed him, along with many indescribable thoughts of why this is happening to his family. Unger’s plate already seemed to be filled with countless end of year exams, theater rehearsals and choir shows, so this news could not have come at a worse time.

“I found out my mom had cancer the week before AP tests,” Unger said. “That was probably the worst possible time to hear that news.”

From childhood, Unger’s mother instilled an inseparable bond between the two of them. Through all stages of life, she guided him every step of the way. Unger and his mom have a close bond. 

“My family always makes jokes about how I’m my mother’s child,” Unger said. “Me and my mom have always been really close. She gave me my love for theater and taught me everything I know.”

When his mother informed him of her diagnosis, Unger felt as if all of these moments were just memories, and from now on their relationship would only consist of doctor’s appointments, waiting rooms and countless prayers.

“I just remember as soon as she sat me and my sister down, I could tell something was wrong,” Unger said. “She looked at us and said doctors found a lump on her breast, and I immediately started crying. It was just a lot to take in.”

Although the talk his mom gave him was heart-dropping, the loss of his mothers hair hit him the hardest and brought the entirety of the cancer diagnosis into reality. This phase of Jennifer Unger’s cancer process proved to be a gut-wrenching feeling for everyone, so Unger did his best to stay strong for his mother.

When something like this happens and you feel like you can’t turn anywhere, you have to rely on something. For us, that was God.

— Tyler Unger

“Driving my mom to her hair appointment was really hard on me,” Unger said. “As time has passed we’ve gotten used to it, and she wears wigs and scarves to keep her head warm.”

Those anxious thoughts weighed the Unger family down, but they continuously communicated, looking to God for guidance through such a dark season of life.

“I feel like during this time, we got a lot closer to the church,” Unger said. “When something like this happens and you feel like you can’t turn anywhere, you have to rely on something. For us, that was God.”

After months of chemo treatment, Unger rang the bell, signaling that she’s completed her first major round of chemo. 

“When my mom rang the bell, it was just pure joy and it felt like a weight had been lifted off [my shoulders],” Unger said. “She still has surgeries to come, but just ringing that bell signaling that we could finally move on to better things was just incredible.”

The reality of seeing a loved one battle breast cancer hit close to home, and affects Unger’s life on a day to day basis. The Unger family has a long way to go in the conclusion of Unger’s recovery, but with the comfort of God they know they have nothing to fear.

“This whole process taught me to be more selfless and to really put others before myself,” Unger said. “It’s impossible to explain every emotion that filled our minds, but this truly turned out to have a positive impact on all of our lives.”

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About the Contributor
Kateleigh Crowson
Kateleigh Crowson, Staff Writer
Kateleigh Crowson is a first-year staff member of THS Publications. She is an active member of STUCO, Leader in Me and the Tiger Theatre Company where she serves as the Advocacy Officer. For fun, she enjoys dancing, reading, watching dance moms and facetiming friends. A fun fact about Crowson is that she is left handed. In the future, she plans to become a CPA because she loves math.

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