Jennifer Kennedy – Pole Dancer, Cancer Survivor Role Model.
Written by Tinu exclusively for Pole Spin magazine.
It has been an eventful and exciting journey that began for Jennifer Kennedy some 55 years ago in Derby England. Born to Jamaican immigrants, Jennifer wanted to learn ballet, dancing was something she was born to do.
A kindly German neighbor meant ballet classes for the little Jennifer and a stint with Irene Bell’s Cabaret Troop when she was 17 meant that Jennifer did manage to live dancing dream at least somewhat.
Marrying Edric, she moved to Chicago soon after and went on to have a wonderful family and a long married life of 27 years. Edric however died of heart attack in 2001, a wonderful, wise, loving man who, for Jennifer was the personification of Gandhi, his illustrious compatriot.
Jennifer continued to be strong for her sons but there was more to follow – in 2005 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and a little later she was laid off from her 10 year old job with an airline.
What followed was a struggle to say the least. There was the pain and seeming hopelessness of her disease on the one hand, and the need to keep it all together on the other. Her struggle was fierce, but in the end it was her tremendous spirit that won out. She refused to let the pain and the difficult process of cancer treatment (which can often be worse than the disease itself according to so many survivors) get in her way and continued to live life on her own terms.
It was the fact that Jennifer never stopped dreaming, and that she had the sheer determination that helped her hold her life together and she decided to continue her education. Not letting the pain and her circumstances or her age stand in her way, she decided to go to college and went on to earn herself a degree.
And this wasn’t all. Her passion for dance dictated that she had even loftier goals in mind – her dream of dancing ballet at London’s Covent Garden had undergone a slight alteration and it took the concrete form of a 500 square foot pole dance studio, the J M Kennedy Dance Studio. The studio size soon started to grow to its present size of 3000 square feet and Jennifer’s remarkable ability to bring happiness and empowerment to women by virtue of her dance instruction grew along with it.
If Jennifer wants to send out the message to women to stay strong, then she certainly knows what she is talking about. Overcoming cancer 5 years ago, and starting afresh in life are monumental tasks; to be successful in your chose sphere at relatively later in life even more so!
It makes it all worthwhile for Jennifer when a client’s husband asks her why his wife looks so happy when she walks out the door of their studio! While Jennifer and her studio continue to empower women and educate them of their own worth, she also contributes to charity events to try and give back to the community, in whatever way she can; all the while staying true to her own mantra in life Never Stop Dreaming!
More stories on other cancer survivors can be seen in the October-December 2011 print issue of Pole Spin magazine now on newsstands and bookstores. Also available for worldwide delivery though theSubscription page.
This is a Pole Spin Magazine exclusive. ©2011 Pole Spin Magazine. All rights reserved.
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