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Cancer survivor shares story with Sycamore students

SYCAMORE – Jana Roe said she was headed down a path of self-destruction and she wanted her daughter to join her.

While she did try to get her son, David, to lounge in the sun and get tan with her, Stacey got the brunt of the bullying. Roe was convinced she had the best life ever, she told students at Sycamore Middle School this week.

She said she’d tell Stacey to come outside and tan with her, but Stacey wouldn’t. Roe would call her daughter “chicken.”

“You don’t want to be pretty like me?” Roe said. “Are you afraid of the sun? I would say anything to my daughter to get her to come and join me on my path. But each and every time my daughter stood up to me and told me no. You have to know I’ve asked both of my kids’ forgiveness for the way I used to be.”

The addiction caught up to her, however. In 2011, Roe found out she had skin cancer. After a tense conversation with her doctor who asked Roe if she was prepared to die, Roe started fighting the disease.

Roe, who now talks to schools in the hopes they make smarter choices than she did, said her children, now adults, have since forgiven her.

Roe, who was addicted to tanning, shared her story of tanning her skin at all costs on Tuesday with Pam Nelson’s eighth-grade health class at Sycamore Middle School.

“The habits they have, we think are harmless until they become addictions,” Nelson said.

Roe asked the class of 34 students how many have made a mistake. Not only did the whole class raise their hands. Nelson raised both of her hands.

Roe shared photos of herself, despite the fact it pains her to see those images, which showed the various conditions her skin has been in since she started going through her skin cancer treatments in 2011.

In the seven years Roe has been talking to students, she’s received letters from students telling her what they got out of the presentation. One student shared how they learned they should think about the choices they make and how they shouldn’t use peer pressure.

Another student wrote about how they’ve had many addicts in their life and how it’s hurt to see the people they care about destroy their lives. The student said Roe’s lifestyle changes gives them hope.

To learn more about Roe’s battle against addiction and her recovery, visit her website:

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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