Name: Jean Wescher
Age: 34
Hometown: Carol Stream, IL
My name is Jean Wescher, and I live in Carol Stream, Illinois, with my husband and two children. I am also a part of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) Endurance Team tackling Mount Fuji in Japan this July. 
February 24, 2003, my father, Dennis Quinn, fell in one of the parking garages that he ran and fractured his femur. How does one of the strongest bones in the human body fracture, just like that? Two days later, on my 20th birthday, our family learned the devastating news that my vibrant, life-loving father was diagnosed with multiple myeloma at the age of 51. And, the prognosis was so distressing; he was given 3 to 5 years to live, but my dad was not one to just sit around and wait for this disease to kill him.  Both he and my mom got very involved with his treatment. They met with doctors, support groups and Dad found the MMRF. He was going to try any and every treatment possible, and he did, he endured it all. And, he did it without complaining. People who didn’t really know him that well didn’t even know he was sick. 
The various treatments were doing what they were supposed to. Dad was able to be here with me for so many special memories that we honestly didn’t know if he’d be here for: walking me down the aisle at my wedding in 2006; the birth of his first grandchild, Emma, in 2012; and the birth of his first grandson, Jackson, in 2014.
Dad felt great up until the fall of 2013. He went through another stem cell transplant in September and was feeling pretty good. But that all changed very quickly. In April of 2014, we received news that the multiple myeloma was raging. Dad went downhill quickly. He and my mother went to Houston for a very aggressive treatment of chemotherapy to get him to a point where he could participate in a new clinical trial that was really his last shot. He still was not defeated, but that didn’t last very long.
In May, he went back to Houston for the clinical trial, but it was unsuccessful. In July 2014, my father came home from Houston. He wanted to be with his family because he knew that his time left was very short. 
My son was due July 31, but I was able to be induced on July 24 — I wanted my dad here for that moment. I wanted him to get to meet Jackson and I was so afraid he wouldn’t. Jackson was born at 11:30 a.m. on the 24th, and by noon my dad was holding him. He was the first person to hold him. I cried so many tears in that moment. Three week later, my father passed away in that same hospital due to complications from the myeloma, a bleeding brain and infection. 
My father was my biggest supporter in everything I did. I am an avid runner and have been since junior high. I was so lucky. My dad always made my track meets a priority. He would leave his job downtown early to be there to support me. When I started running marathons, my Dad couldn’t get enough of it! He even set up a lunch with Carey Pinkowski, the executive race director for the Chicago Marathon, so that he could brag on me running it. I worked really hard and had the goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. My dad knew I would do it and he had all these big plans for us when I made it. I did qualify in 2010, but ended up having two kids, so I didn’t make it to Boston. I did re-qualify in 2016 just couple years too late for us all to go. But I know that Dad was with me when I was there in April.
Climbing a mountain is never something I’ve ever considered doing, until I saw so many posts from the MMRF Endurance Team about Mount Kilimanjaro and the Grand Canyon. It looked exciting. I may not be a mountain climber (I will be in July!), but I am a big fan of the MMRF and the amazing work they’re doing. So, I decided to take a huge leap of faith in deciding to do this climb and commit to raising the funds. I know that my father touched so many lives and I’m honored to be doing this in his name. 
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