Marathon Kids: Meet Jenna Barnett, Patient Champion

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly
Jenna Barnett

Jenna Barnett was 13 when she first entered Nationwide Children's Hospital. She was an active tween who loved to play volleyball until, in 2004, she began experiencing jolts of pain in her right leg. "The right side looked like a hurricane, the eye of a storm," says Barnett, now 24, about her first MRI. The diagnosis: Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare cancer that affects about 500 people each year. While battling a disease that has a 25 percent survival rate-and through two relapses-Barnett finished college, graduating from Otterbein University in 2013 with a degree in English literature. Last month, she finished her last round of chemotherapy and, on Oct. 18, she'll be one of the Patient Champions for the Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus Marathon. "I've grown up, literally, in Children's Hospital," she says. "They've seen me graduate middle school, high school and college. Children's has also grown up around me."

How will you celebrate completing chemotherapy treatment?

I'm throwing a party [this month] to celebrate. My friends, family, nurses and doctors will be there. I will also probably go out to eat; I like food.

What are you most looking forward to on race day?

I'm always surprised to see all the runners I know participating. It's nice to recognize all the community members and see all the people who support [Children's].

What is it like being an adult in a children's hospital?

People are surprised to know there are adult patients. They really push for support for teens and young adults. I'm really grateful for my doctors.

What's your dream job?

Working with teen and adult cancer patients.

You've got a Saturday with no plans, no treatment. What do you do?

I would go to the Clintonville Community Market; I love little markets like that. Then I would go to read with a friend at Cup O' Joe.

Where do you love to shop?

I like H&M, Forever 21 and Altar'd State.

What does style meant to you?

Style should show people who you are without talking; express your personality.