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Friends recall Jenna Hinman as woman who brought out best in others


AUBURN — Friends and family members of Jenna L. Hinman remembered her on a warm afternoon as a fun-loving person whose spirit lives on in her infant daughters.

Mrs. Hinman, 26, who died Monday at Crouse Hospital in Syracuse, battled stage 3 choriocarcinoma, a rare form of cancer, for two months after giving birth to her twins. The story of Mrs. Hinman and her husband, Sgt. Brandon Hinman, 30, of Fort Drum, touched thousands of people across the north country and around the world who offered prayers and wishes on social media and donated to fundraising drives to help the family.

During calling hours Friday at Pettigrass Funeral Home, those closest to Mrs. Hinman described her as an overwhelmingly outgoing, warm and sweet woman, even from her earliest years; a woman with the ability to bring out the best in others.

“Jenna was a little ham. She always had a smile,” said Mrs. Hinman’s uncle John J. Warter III of Port Byron. “She’d always find a good in somebody. That was Jenna; she’d look at somebody and pick out the good.”

Siblings Jack A. Wieczorek and Rachel E. Wierczorek attended high school in Port Byron with Mrs. Hinman and recalled her fun-loving spirit. “She was rambunctious, fun, hilarious,” Mr. Wierczorek said. “She was always getting me to get myself in trouble.”

“She was always getting you out of trouble, too,” Ms. Wierczorek said.

Besides her husband and their daughters, Kinleigh Anne and Azylnn Mary, Mrs. Hinman is survived by her parents, Jeff and Kim Blaisdell of Port Byron; her brother, Joshua Blaisdell of Port Byron; and her mother-in-law, Linda (John) Zink of South Carolina, and father-in-law, Greg (Jackie) Hinman of Weedsport.

The Hinmans learned in January that they were expecting. In late February and into March, Mrs. Hinman became ill, though her symptoms were attributed to a temporary malady. She gave birth to the twins March 3 at Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown, where she worked as a recreational therapist.

Shortly thereafter, she was diagnosed with choriocarcinoma, a rare form of cancer that began with tumors in her uterus. She was transferred to Crouse, where her condition seemed to improve, only to decline sharply last weekend with the onset of pneumonia.

Babies that are developing in the womb when choriocarcinoma is present often do not survive the pregnancy. The fact that they did in this case is one source of a comfort in an otherwise incomprehensible tragedy, according to Tara L. Martin, a college friend of Mrs. Hinman’s.

“It’s hard to come to acceptance,” Ms. Martin said. “But she still realized the dream of having the babies. She held them, fed them, burped them. I have videos I can show them when they’re older.”

Ms. Martin and another of Mrs. Hinman’s college friends, Brielle E. Fox, said that the twins are a strong reminder of their friend. “We see her in the fingers, the face, the attitude, every expression,” Ms. Martin said.

Contributions may be made in Mrs. Hinman’s memory to a special trust fund being set up for Azlynn and Kinleigh. Donations can be sent to: Hinman Twins Trust, 9772 Route 38, Port Byron, N.Y. 13140.

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