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Colon cancer fundraiser asks people to ‘save the booty’

Young victim’s good humor, drive to help others lives on after passing

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published March 4, 2011

 Jennifer Amber Robacker-Bazinet, 22 — seen here on her wedding day with husband Sean Bazinet, 23 — passed away of stage 4 colon cancer a mere two months after getting married. Now family and friends are trying to raise money to hold a funeral service and support efforts to fight cancer.

Jennifer Amber Robacker-Bazinet, 22 — seen here on her wedding day with husband Sean Bazinet, 23 — passed away of stage 4 colon cancer a mere two months after getting married. Now family and friends are trying to raise money to hold a funeral service and support efforts to fight cancer.

Photo provided by Rachel Nelson

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MADISON HEIGHTS — Life was just beginning for Jenny when it was taken away.

The Oak Park resident was 22, married two months to the man who’d been her friend since she was 13. So young and so in love — but cancer, ever horrible, didn’t care.

Such is the tragedy that befell Jenny — full name Jennifer Amber Robacker-Bazinet — when her stage 4 colon cancer ended in death. Born Nov. 15, 1987, she passed Oct. 30, 2010, a life all too short, but one that touched the hearts of those around her.

“Jenny was such an amazing person,” marveled Kim Shellberg, a close family friend of 16 years. “To lose her so early was extremely hard.”

The people Jenny left behind need closure — including her husband, Sean Bazinet, 23 — but they haven’t received it because there hasn’t been a funeral service since her passing.

Now they’re trying to raise money for a memorial service. The Save the Booty Cut-a-thon will take place at Shellberg’s business, Hair Mechanics, 29072 Campbell Road near 12 Mile in Madison Heights, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. March 28. Haircuts are $10; shampoo and blow dry are extra. Raffles, pizza and refreshments are also included.

Most of the proceeds will fund a memorial service for Jenny at Bloomer State Park in Rochester Hills, her favorite place since she was a child, the spot where she married the love of her life and the place where she said she wanted a service. Family and friends would like to place a dedication bench there in her name, as well as a memorial plaque for her final resting place in Harrison, where her mother’s side of the family resides.

The rest of the proceeds will go to Gilda’s Club Metro Detroit in Royal Oak, in the hopes of helping other people who struggle with cancer.

“We are trying to orchestrate a grand opening on that day with the mayor of Madison Heights, and have our ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Madison Heights/Hazel Park Chamber of Commerce,” Shellberg said. The hope is the visibility will make the fundraiser a huge success.

The Save the Booty Cut-a-thon might have a funny name, given the not-so-funny cause, but Dawn Campagna, Jenny’s stepmother and stylist at Hair Mechanics, said it’s perfect for the girl described as fun-loving and good-humored.

“Jenny mentioned several times about the awareness of ‘saving the boobies’ and not enough of ‘saving the booty,’ so this is her way of raising colorectal cancer awareness,” Campagna said.

Jenny’s husband, Bazinet, and Campagna said Jenny, who worked in the Berkley School District as a daycare aide, was very fond of children, and though she was shy and quiet around new people, she always had a smile to share when you got to know her. And those who knew her knew she was a smart and independent personality.

She loved taking trips up north and spending time outdoors. Around the house, she maintained a porcelain doll collection. And one of her favorite ways to relax was spending time with her husband. Bazinet likes to write his own rap songs, and Jenny was his No. 1 fan, helping him with his music.

When she was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in July 2009, she tried to stay upbeat, through six months of chemo, followed by the revelation it had metastasized to a stage 4 in May 2010, which led to a new, more aggressive chemo cocktail.

“She had a kick-ass attitude,” Campagna said. “Even after she metastasized, she was bound and determined to beat her odds. She had her sad times also, but deep down she really thought she’d be here longer. Even though she was in a lot of pain, she wanted to try every last treatment possible. She wanted more time with her husband and family.

“It took a lot out of Jenny, but she always tried to keep positive,” she added.

In addition to Campagna, her stepmother, and Bazinet, her husband of two months, Jenny is survived by her father, John Robacker; her mother, Monica Johnson-Carpenter, and stepfather, Marc Salaske; her siblings Anthony (25), Justin (17) and Samantha (14) Robacker, and Jeffrey (18), Brandon (16), Angela (15) and Drake (12) Carpenter; and her grandparents George and Lois Robacker, and Kris and Susan Cavanaugh.

“We’ve all learned from Jenny that life is too short and to not take it for granted,” Campagna said. “Enjoy the little things, and take the time to tell those you love that you love them. Her motto was ‘keep hope alive.’ Colon cancer is a horrible disease that no young or older person should have to go through.”

The Save the Booty Cut-a-thon will take place at Hair Mechanics, 29072 Campbell Road near 12 Mile in Madison Heights, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., March 28. Haircuts are $10; shampoo and blow dry are extra. Proceeds will go to Jenny’s memorial service and Gilda’s Club Metro Detroit in Royal Oak. For more information, call (248) 439-6003.
 

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