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Jenna Hinman remembered as heartfelt mother, friend

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WATERTOWN — Brielle E. Fox said she knows her friend Jenna Hinman will celebrate her first Mother’s Day on Sunday.

It’ll just be from Heaven, looking down on her twin baby girls.

The Fort Drum spouse lost her battle with stage 3 choriocarcinoma Monday, just two months after giving birth to premature daughters Kinleigh Anne and Azlynn Mary.

In the past eight weeks at Crouse Hospital, Syracuse, Mrs. Hinman’s condition seemed to improve slightly with prayers from people throughout north country and around the world. However, Mrs. Hinman, wife of Sgt. Brandon Hinman, Fort Drum, developed pneumonia and her vital signs dropped.

“Usually the babies don’t make it,” said Mrs. Fox, Mrs. Hinman’s friend who oversees the Prayers for Jenna Facebook page with Tara Martin. “The babies are miracles. It seemed Jenna sacrificed herself to save her kids.”

According to Medline Plus, a service of the National Institutes of Health, a baby may not develop when the mother has choriocarcinoma.

The Hinmans had a difficult time conceiving, but in January they learned they were expecting. Soon after, Mrs. Hinman, 26, and Sgt. Hinman, 30, discovered they were having twin girls.

But in late February and into March, Mrs. Hinman became ill. The couple wrote off some symptoms to a temporary malady. The babies were born March 3 at Samaritan Medical Center, where Mrs. Hinman was a recreational therapist. Shortly thereafter, Mrs. Hinman was diagnosed with choriocarcinoma, a rare cancer that stemmed from tumors found her uterus. She was transferred to Crouse.

The cancer spread. She fought the infection. She could not breathe on her own.

“I spoke to Brandon daily,” Mrs. Fox said. “He told me what I could share,” regarding the Facebook posts. “This past week, Brandon had sent me a picture and Jenna looked tired. I needed to boost them.”

That’s when she started a Booster.com fund to support the Hinmans and cover costs associated with Mrs. Hinman’s care and that of her girls. As of Tuesday, 737 T-shirts were ordered at $20 each, and $13,200 has been raised. The fund continues to seek supporters, as does the GoFundMe account set up by Mrs. Hinman’s uncle. That account has collected $170,000 from people around the globe.

Funds raised will not be wasted, Mrs. Fox said. Kinleigh and Azlynn, born at 30 weeks, will need support going forward.

More importantly, Mrs. Fox said, her friend’s tragic tale has raised awareness about choriocarcinoma. The Facebook page alone has more than 279,000 followers.

“Jenna’s story will save lives,” she said. “Her legacy will live on.”

Her struggle also has renewed people’s lost faith, Mrs. Fox said. Prayers have kept family and friends strong in the past two months, she said.

Mrs. Fox described her friend as a “gorgeous blonde” who captured the hearts of many, even now after her death. “Jenna just loved with all of her heart,” Mrs. Fox said. “She stood so proud and strong when Brandon decided to go in the Army.”

The Fort Drum community and communities of the Weedsport/Port Byron areas where the Hinmans’ extended families live continue to extend a hand to a family that so often reached out to others.

Mrs. Fox said Mrs. Hinman had reached out to her when they attended SUNY Brockport, after Mrs. Fox shared her story of personal struggles. After they graduated, the friends kept in touch via text messaging and social media. Mrs. Hinman had attended Mrs. Fox’s wedding, and Mrs. Fox was a bridesmaid in Mrs. Hinman’s wedding, Mrs. Fox said.

Late Sunday, Mrs. Fox said, she received word from Sgt. Hinman that his wife was not doing well. She rushed from her home near New York City to Crouse Hospital, and when she arrived early Monday, Sgt. Hinman told her that his wife didn’t make it. The cancer had spread.

“His heart was taken from him and shattered yesterday,” Mrs. Fox said.

Before her death, Mrs. Hinman shared tender moments with her baby girls. The girls were discharged after spending weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit. They have been staying with Mrs. Hinman’s mother in Cayuga County. Both babies are healthy and growing stronger each day, Mrs. Fox said.


want to help?
Here are some ways you may support the family of Jenna Hinman, who recently died after a two-month battle with choriocarcinoma, a rare cancer:
• Twitter — use the hashtag #RIPJENNA
• Facebook — http://wdt.me/cptChm
• GoFundMe — http://wdt.me/feEzHb
• Booster — http://wdt.me/TBnNff
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