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Family giving back after cancer fight
With their 10-month fight against cancer now at a promising stage, the Warren family of North Bend is paying forward the support the Snoqualmie Valley has shown them.
Jeff and Teresa Warren came here about a year ago, with their 4-year-old daughter Kylie, to start Jeff’s State Farm Insurance agency on Snoqualmie Ridge. Around the same time, Teresa was diagnosed with breast cancer, and their move was a blessing, as it brought them close to cutting-edge treatment in the Puget Sound.
Since then, Teresa has faced chemotherapy, surgery and is now in the last stages of radiation treatment, an extra precaution to ensure that she is cancer-free.
She feels much better now that she’s done with chemotherapy. The chemicals attack fast-growing cells, so Teresa lost her hair, her two big toenails, and had sores in her mouth.
“You’re more or less putting poison into your body to kill the cancer,” Teresa said.
The cancer fight put a great deal of strain on the family. Jeff said he’s realized how grateful he should be. He also recognizes how strong his wife is.
The ordeal was also tough for Kylie.
“She picked up more than we ever thought,” Teresa said. “She hears everything I say. I’d say I was going to the doctor, going for my treatment. One day she had something that I needed. She said, ‘You better be good or I’m not going to let you go to chemo.’”
Kylie asked her father, ‘Daddy, will I get cancer when I get older?’
“You’re not going to get cancer,” Jeff answered.
“If I don’t get cancer, will I get poison ivy?” came the next question.
“I don’t know that you’re going to get poison ivy,” Jeff replied. “It’s going to be OK.”
To keep Kylie’s life as normal as possible, her parents did their best to maintain her routine, keeping her in preschool. She also went to some of mom’s appointments.
Getting into a routine also helped Jeff cope.
“I’m glad I had a new business to start when this happened,” he said. “It kept me busy enough, because it would have driven me crazy. There was something to do every day.”
Jeff said his family has been blessed with with having good insurance, and with responsive medical care.
“We’ve had support from our neighbors, local churches, the businesses up here on the Ridge,” he said.
The Warrens were brought meals and sent cards and money from people they didn’t know.
“I can’t tell you how much we’ve been welcomed into the community,” Jeff said.
The family’s struggle with cancer has prompted Jeff’s continuing involvement in Valley causes.
This year, Jeff is serving as publicity chairman for the Snoqualmie Valley Relay for Life. He’s involved in organizing a Valley-wide Pink Ribbon Week in support of cancer awareness next year. Through the end of this month, Jeff has also been giving $10 to the American Cancer Society for each person who gets an insurance quote at his office.
When times are tough and Jeff lies awake and wondering what the future holds, he remembers that “the thing that I have to do is help somebody else.”
“My fears go away, because you’re unconditionally working to help someone else,” he said. Jeff’s been working to instill that ethic in his daughter. In hard times, “you know what you do?” Jeff asked.
“You help somebody else, daddy,” Kylie answered.