Jennifer Rene Harmon Tegley was diagnosed with an aggressive form of throat cancer in October 2010. She was 17 years old.
“I can remember, it seems a little bit slow motion as the doctor described to us he was confident it was cancer. We were in the waiting room for a simple tonsillectomy,” said Jim Tegley, Jennifer’s father.
“She was amazingly courageous,” he continued. “She never once thought she wasn’t going to beat this. Not until the day she passed away.”
Jennifer died at the age of 18. Less than one year after being diagnosed.
Unfortunately, Jennifer is not the only member of the Tegley family who died too young. Jennifer’s cousin, Elizabeth Erica Harmon, passed away at the age of 30.
To honor the girls’ memory, the Harmon-Tegley family made a donation
to name the lobby of the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center and to endow a faculty research position dedicated to clinical cancer research. The inaugural holder of the endowed chair position is Dr. Karen Kelly who managed Jennifer's end-of-life care. Dr. Kelly is building the cancer center’s Phase I clinical trials program, which is dedicated to bringing new innovative treatments to patients.
“Cancer has taken so many family members and people at large across the nation, we have to see how we can help solve some of the problem,” said a member of the Harmon-Tegely family. “I give to UC Davis because I have hope it’s going to help.”