Falmouth Teen Begins Homeschooling to Help Care for Paraplegic Mother Diagnosed With Breast Cancer

A local family is coming together to take on tremendous challenges.

A Falmouth woman was left paralyzed when she was just 18.

Now at 42 years old, Jennifer Burkholder’s been diagnosed with two forms of breast cancer.

Chemo is leaving her weak which is requiring extra wheelchair assistance.

Her 16-year-old daughter made the selfless choice to be homeschooled to take care of her mom.

“She was in a really bad car accident which killed her cousin and she was in a coma for three or four weeks,” says Kevin Burkholder, Jennifer’s husband.

A crash that left Jennifer Burkholder paralyzed with a severed spinal cord.

Twenty years later complications from a surgery led to Sepsis and the removal of her large intestine and just a month ago Jennifer and her family got even more heartbreaking news.

“They found that she had two different types of cancer being inflammatory breast cancer and invasive ductal carcinoma and it had spread to her lymph nodes to her body but not to her organs yet,” says Kevin.

“Because my mom is one of my best friends it was very hard for me and you know when someone gets diagnosed with cancer you immediately think that they’re not going make it,” says Emma Burkholder, Jennifer’s daughter.

Now her 16-year-old daughter, Emma, is stepping in to help and choosing to spend her junior year homeschooled to care of her mom.

“I know that if something were to happen I know what to do where as a nurse or something may not know the specifics of my mom,” says Emma.

“Being in a wheelchair makes it a lot more difficult,” says Kevin. “She has to dress herself, get on and off the bed and go to the bathroom and with being weak from chemo and stuff it’s really hard.”

This will allow Emma’s dad to continue working to pay for medical bills, travel, and to support their family of five.

Emma being there will provide comfort for Kevin knowing his wife is in good hands.

“That way somebody would be home for Jen because sometimes she has problems falling out of her chair and just to have somebody here like Emma that knows Jennifer and knows all of her elements and things that happen,” says Kevin. “It’s a peace of mind.”

“I would gladly give up this little part of my life to help my mom,” says Emma.

If you would like to help the Burkholder family head to their donate page.

 

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