Hi, I am Jacob Penner. My leukemia was discovered after a blood test I had taken because we were trying to find out why my back was not healing. I had hurt my back from lifting various heavy objects at the end of the school year and then over the summer of 2006 and the pain was not getting any better. Leukemia made my spine weak and as a result it has curved forward. I have since lost about two inches of height and have a very difficult time straightening my back. I have been wearing a back brace for quite a while now; while it has been a great help to prevent further curving, it will not make my back straighter in the long term.

I was unable to return to my high school for the first semester of my junior year (2006-2007) and had to do independent study for the second semester with a different high school. This encouraged me to test out of high school and skip my senior year during the following summer. I am now in my second semester at Sierra Community College. I am very glad that I decided to test out of high school and if I had not gotten Leukemia I most likely would still be in high school.

Though I am no longer as active as I was (I played basketball as a freshman, soccer, and baseball) I am glad for most of the experiences I have had because of Leukemia. One experience I will always remember is that of all my friends, relatives, neighbors, and people I didn’t even know personally, coming and giving me support and encouragement in various ways. I was amazing how many people cared.

I would use the gift from Nicki to go towards buying books and a laptop for school. Having a laptop would be a great help to me because I would be able to do my assignments for history and essays for English without having to fight for the use of the family computer. Also I would be able to do school work or research with a laptop when I am not at home.

Jacob Penner