Life was going along as usual for Karen Blair Jacobs last year. Happily married to Smithville City Councilman and longtime radio broadcaster Shawn Jacobs, she had recently experienced the mixture of joy and sadness as their daughter, Caitlin, graduated from DeKalb County High School. A veteran teacher at Northside Elementary School, Jacobs also enjoyed watching her son, Justin Nokes, as he continued excelling in the education profession as a teacher and soccer coach. But life began to take a turn for the worse, when she went to the doctor to find out why she had not been feeling well for the last 3 to 6 months.
“In the fall, I was diagnosed with Neuroendocrine Cancer,” Jacobs says. “Unlike a lot of the other types of cancer it doesn’t just hit in one area. It appears that mine began in the lung and metastasized to spots on the liver.”
For now, this particular type of cancer is incurable but treatable.
“I was blessed to be healthy enough to participate in a clinical trial with Tennessee Oncology in Nashville, which could slow growth and perhaps maybe someday help find a cure.”
Jacobs goes for treatment two days a week for three weeks with the next week off. The cycle then repeats. After a leave of absence part of last school year, Jacobs will return to the classroom to teach the other three days that she isn’t undergoing treatment.
“So far, I am stable, and I will continue the treatments until they tell me differently,” she said.
To help offset medical costs, the Cantrell Cancer Foundation will donate all proceeds from the 6th Annual Earl Judkins Golf Classic on Saturday, August 26 to Jacobs and her family.
The golf tournament began in 2012.
“The year prior was when we found out about Amy’s cancer, and I wanted to do something for her,” explains Tyler Cantrell. “This was one of the ways I felt I could give back to her, and I knew we could continue it years after for other families as well.”
“I think what the Cantrell Cancer Benefit Foundation is doing is a very excellent way to help others and honor Tyler’s sister, Amy Cantrell Miller.
Originally, Relay for Life held a golf tournament in honor of Cantrell’s late great uncle Earl Judkins. When they hosted the tournament, the foundation picked it up as a way to honor him and help others.
“Since having the golf tournament, we have had five different recipients all of which vary in age and condition, including two under the age of 5,” Cantrell said. “We have raised close to $20,000 in proceeds that have gone back to the families, thanks to the help of Modern Woodman, which is a company who has been able to match up to $2,500 for a few of those tournaments.”
Besides the financial assistance, Karen’s friends, family, and colleagues have rallied around her with prayers and support.
“My heart breaks for her having to go through this,” says Annette Davis, a friend of 46 years. “She is a rock and such a strong woman, and she is there for anyone in need.
“She is a kind, compassionate person,” says Kim Young with whom Karen has shared a friendship since Kindergarten. “She is very thoughtful. She loves her family and friends. You can always depend on her. She is very strong in her faith and in her relationship with God. In this battle, she is giving it all she has. If it be God’s will, she will win.”
“She is a person that has made my life better by just being a part of it,” says Angie Young Thomas, longtime friend, college roommate, and fellow softball player. “I truly love her with all my heart and I feel a deep pain in my chest at the thought of what she is going through. I so wish I could be there to help support her. No matter how many miles there are between us or how much time goes by without us talking, I know that I can always count on her and that I will always think of her as one of my best friends.
Deadline to enter the golf tournament is August 18. For more information on the tournament or to become a sponsor contact Tyler Cantrell at centerhillcrossfit.com or 931-239-5948 and Riverwatch Golf Club at 931-761-8124. Entry fee is $75 for individuals and $300 for teams. Donations may be made to Cantrell Cancer Benefit Foundation at 625 Foster Road, Smithville.
“I would like to take this time to thank everyone for all of their thoughts and prayers as I go through this journey,” Karen said. “I have felt each and every one of them, and they help me get through the day. It also makes it a lot easier for my family. Please continue to pray for my family and me as we continue the fight!”