WALLINGTON, N.J. — A Wallington woman helped change her Fair Lawn cousin's destiny when she created a GoFundMe account to help her battle Stage II breast cancer.
Since September, Veronica Jackson has raised nearly $5,000 for single mom Bernadette Vargas, who lost her job — and with it her insurance coverage — after the diagnosis. She's also inspired a host of in-kind contributions.
Vargas underwent her last chemotherapy treatment on Thursday before picking her children up from school.
She said she's grateful for the support she's received from loved ones and strangers alike, thanks to Jackson's efforts.
"There have been so many people me who have stepped forward to help," said Vargas, who had many people offer free house-cleaning and landscaping, among other services. "I continue to be amazed by their beautiful hearts."
A security guard at the "Today Show" made Vargas a cup of tea and brought her inside when he found her outside waiting at the crack of dawn for a chance to watch the "Power of Pink" breast cancer show last month.
Vargas found herself on stage later that morning holding two first-class tickets to anywhere in the United States.
The low points are as low as the high points are high, but Vargas has taken them with humor. Last week she shared side-by-side shots on Facebook of her resemblance to a yellow Minion.
"I found humor in it," she said. "Hopefully someone else can too."
The battle has just begun: Ahead are regular visits to the infusion center, trips to the hospital for intravenous medication injections, a January surgery and a bevy of more tests.
Through it all, Vargas looks forward to seeing cancer in her past.
"I know there is so much to come, but I will deal with it as best as I can," Vargas said.
"It's been hitting me hard lately in moments where fear creeps along with the physical toll it has taken," she sad, "but the love and support I have received keeps me going.
"My work is never over."
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