Family Remembers Troy University Student Who Died of Breast Cancer


By Brittany Bivins

When Troy University students return to campus in two weeks, one familiar face will be missing. 22-year-old Jamie Ruppel lost her year-long battle with breast cancer last week. While her family and friends are mourning her death, they're also celebrating her life.


Last June, Jamie Ruppel was a Troy University junior majoring in social work, dreaming of helping children.

"She said she wanted one of every color, to adopt one of every color. She wanted a house full," said Traci Ballard, her mother.

Just before she left for a mission trip to a children's clinic in Costa Rica, she found a lump in her breast. and when she came home and got a diagnosis that would change her life.

"He told us that yes, it was cancer. And I asked her, I said, baby are you prepared to die? And she said I don't want to die, but I am prepared," said Ballard.

"When we found out about the cancer, she was like, well, all right. I got this. I can do this," said her sister, Jennifer Geri.

She began chemotherapy and radiation treatment just before her younger sister gave birth to her niece Christina. saying nothing would keep her away from her family.

"She stood up the whole time, didn't take a break, didn't want to take a break," said Geri.

"She never said why me, never had a pity party, was always saying thank you to anyone who did anything for her," said Ballard.

Jamie Ruppel documented her fight on her blog, where she said over and over she depended on faith to get her though.

"She would want people to know that even as bad as it is, you can do all things through Christ. That was, that was her thing," said Ballard.

Her mother, Traci Ballard, has another hope for her daughter's legacy. She says she'll always wonder what would have happened if Jamie had been diagnosed sooner. She wants parents and young women everyone to know no one is too young to get cancer.If her story can change, can save one person, one young lady, who has something come up in her breast, it would be worth it," said Ballard.

According to the American Cancer Society, 40,000 American women die each year of cancer. Fewer than 1,000 are under the age of 40.

You can visit Jamie's blog here.


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