In 2007, Jen Pagani had everything going for her. She was an active athlete, a new mom to a 2 year old and 2 month old baby boys, and the wife of Joe; however, an unexpected stage III breast cancer diagnosis changed the Paganis lives.
Known as a competitive go-getter, Jen tackled her diagnosis with her signature fervor. Her specific cancer was classified as HER-2/neu positive, receptor negative or Inflammatory Breast Cancer. Joe remembers her appointment with her oncologist. “Jen looked at her doctor and asked very specifically how much time she had left. The doctor wouldn’t give her an answer. Jen pushed back and asked if the doctor had ever seen a patient like her survive longer than a year. The doctor said no.” Jen had her goal, and she surpassed it… surviving for 6.5 years.
Immediately the Paganis were inundated with friends, neighbors and even strangers who wanted to help the young family. “We didn’t have any more room for meals, but we knew that people just wanted the opportunity to do something. Our friends created a MealTrain for us, and people started gifting us with gift cards instead of meals.” The Paganis were overwhelmed with the generosity, and Jen used it as an opportunity to give to those around her.
“She would bring the gift cards to chemo and hand them out to others receiving chemo. She just wanted to spread the love that we were experiencing, and there were people there in greater need than us.” Organically, Go Jen Go was born. The Paganis were inspired to make treatment easier for their fellow cancer community.
As Joe says, “When someone is battling cancer, the very last thing they should be thinking about or worrying about is their power bill.” Today, Go Jen Go works tirelessly to keep Jen’s legacy alive by supporting cancer survivors financially, so their biggest priority is their health.
The foundation offers monthly finances for cancer patients and their families for six months at a time, which Joe says is the average timeframe that treatment takes. They are also eligible to renew at the end of those six months. As Jen herself stated in her blog before her passing, “The support I’ve received has added more to my life than cancer has taken away.” The goal of Go Jen Go is to spread that gift throughout Charlotte.
24 Foundation is proud to have Go Jen Go as a secondary beneficiary of our 24 Hours of Booty event. You can learn more about Go Jen Go and their own series of events here.