By Gale Fiege Herald Writer
STANWOOD — Jen Bell-Burgess is fighting a rare form of cervical cancer, but her community is behind her.
Friends and family have organized a benefit concert set for 7 p.m. Friday at Amigo Mexican Restaurant, 6996 265th St. NW, in Stanwood.
The band Brigade from Everett plans to perform Led Zeppelin tunes.
A donation jar will be set up at the restaurant and raffle tickets will be sold, said organizer and close friend Janet Johnston of Camano Island.
“Jen is a longtime regular at Amigo, and she plans to be there that night,” Johnston said.
Bell-Burgess said having a party thrown in her honor makes her feel loved.
“My immune system will be low that day, but even if I have to wear a mask, I will be there at least for awhile,” she said.
Bell-Burgess, 37, and her husband, Matt Burgess, are the parents of a 14-year-old daughter and a 2-year-old son. They have mounting bills and have filed for bankruptcy, Johnston said.
Bell-Burgess, who graduated from Stanwood High School in 1992, is a phlebotomist. However, she has not been able to work as a blood-draw technician for some time, in part because of her intensive chemotherapy, Johnston said.
“Jen had resistance to her first round of chemotherapy, and her oncologist is trying to keep her stable for as long as possible,” Johnston said. “Jen is amazing. If anyone were to conquer this form of cancer, it would be her. She is not giving up because she wants to take care of her kids and her husband. All I know is we want to keep her around forever.”
Bell-Burgess said she is doing the best she can in her fight and is appreciative of the help of her friends and family members.
This week, Johnston and her husband, Scott Johnston, are collecting donations to be raffled at the benefit concert. The event also is planned to draw attention to Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, she said.
“There is a groundswell of support for this fundraiser,” Johnston said. “People who know Jen will say she is the most positive person they’ve ever met. She is not going to let this bring her down.”
Staying positive and busy with her kids is key right now, Bell- Burgess said.
“You have to keep the faith and keep chugging along.”
Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; firstname.lastname@example.org.