This is a letter Jodi wrote just a few weeks before she died. It was critical for her to share her story with others and motivate people to support lung cancer research...

April 2008

Dear Family & Friends,

Dreaming…you think of dreaming what your life will be like 15 years from now. I never dreamt that I’d join such a fight in all of my life.

I’ll make my story brief. Two years ago at the age of 34, I was diagnosed with Non-Small Cell Adenocarcinoma, otherwise known as Lung Cancer. As you can imagine, I had several shocks. The toughest one, telling my husband of 3 years and father of our 8½ month old daughter that I may be dying. Since I had never chose to smoke the news came as a complete disbelief. I became astonishingly aware that lung cancer is not just a smoker’s disease. Unfortunately, at the time of my diagnosis, it had metastasized to my bones, spinal cord, hip, shoulder, knees, brain and the liver classifying the disease as Stage 4.

Like anyone that has been afflicted with this disease, you know how life can change in a matter of seconds. I always say “I went in with a cough and came out with cancer”. Our dreams of building a home that we had planned this last summer, extending our family and living a some what normal life--were over.

After numerous tests, CT scans, Bone scans, MRI’s, Mammograms and blood draws, my fight for life was just beginning. Initially, I had undergone intense Chemotherapy, powerful Tomotherapy, Radiation and more Chemotherapy. I thought I knew what sick was until I was introduced to the UW Cancer Clinic. I feel blessed to be receiving care from the team of doctors that I have been directed to, I can only hope now that my trust in the Lord will watch over and provide knowledge and medication to sustain my life.

I’ve asked myself what can I do to help spare just one mother or father from having to say goodbye to their child(ren), sacrificing their dreams and housing sadness in their heart as I do.

So many of you with so much generosity have asked what can I do for you? I have recently teamed up with the University of Wisconsin Paul P. Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center and have created a fund in my honor “The Jodi Lou Lung Cancer Fund”. Our mission is to get clinical trial medication from the researchers in the lab to the patients with disease.

Sincerely & God Bless,

Jodi Lou (Barlow) Rickert

"I never Dreamt...Now I Dream..."

I would like to personally recognize my family that are so emotionally involved in this project, my supportive husband, Ray, beautiful daughter, Sophie, and my wonderful parents, Cecil & Shirley Barlow.

I’d also like to thank the dedicated medical staff at the UW Cancer Center, especially Dr. Anne Traynor and Dr. Minesh Mehta, Russ Austin and Ann Johnson, both affiliated with the UW Foundation, Rick Mueller of Mueller Graphics and Michelle Ripp of Ripp Photo Design.

Many thanks to you all. 

     Your Donations & Support Are Very Much Appreciated!