Woman Battling Cancer Overwhelmed by Stranger's Bighearted Gesture

| Inspiration


This is a moment that will tug on your heartstrings.

In June 2016, Jerina was diagnosed with breast cancer during a mammogram. She was not surprised by the diagnosis since her father and grandmother both suffered the disease.

She did not give up on herself after hearing the devastating news, but instead decided to fight harder. “I tried to keep an attitude of ‘Let's just deal with it.’ I have people who need me," Jerina explains. “I have three children. I have a job I love. My parents are young and active. I couldn’t stop participating in my life.” 

Her family settled into a “new normal” lifestyle and began a routine of scans, doctor appointments, chemo and prescription.

“But, you know, it’s okay,” she said. “My kids have their mom, my husband still has his wife, my parents still have their daughter.”

Although she had a positive attitude toward the situation, that doesn’t mean she never broke down in tears at the thought of leaving her family. 

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The Sunday before her surgery, Jerina and her family went to church and out to lunch at her favorite restaurant. When they were preparing to leave, their server approached them, handed them a note and said with a smile, “Your meal has been covered.”

The note was from an anonymous man whose wife died from cancer five years prior. He sympathized with their family and paid for their lunch to ease what little burden he could. They searched the restaurant for the generous man, but he had already left.

Jerina submitted her story to the Love What Matters Facebook page and it went viral with more than 4,000 reactions and shares. Eventually, after a lot of media coverage, the family finally found the man who paid for their meal. 

“We’ve since found each other,” Jerina says. “He saw the story and knew we were looking for him to thank him. He called the news station, and they gave him my contact information.”

His name was Fred and he reached out to Jerina during a phone call. They are now Facebook friends and Fred sends her notes of support throughout her treatment. 

“You know, these things happen every day,” she says. “My husband is a firefighter and we hear about people paying for a firefighter's coffee or a policeman's breakfast. And I’m going into surgery. It’s a reminder that there is a lot of kindness out there.”

Jerina’s prognosis is currently uncertain. Her cancer is now in Stage 4 and has spread to her bones.


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Sarah Halper |

After graduating from the University of Iowa with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications as well as Sports Management, Sarah Halper has put plenty of time and effort in perfecting her reporting skills. She is a true pop culture enthusiast at heart, which makes for a wide variety of knowledge. When she isn’t consuming timely news, you can find her enjoying her favorite sporting events and eating her way through Chicago.