Three years ago next month, an eastern Iowa couple were both diagnosed with cancer. Following surgery, they thought they were in the clear. Unfortunately, they weren't.

Mike and Jennifer Avenarius are from Dubuque and each had successful surgery after being diagnosed with cancer in April of 2013. Mike had testicular cancer while Jennifer battled melanoma.

Everything seemed to be going great until last August. That's when, after discovering a lump on her neck that grew from the size of a marble to a racquetball within two weeks, Jennifer was diagnosed with stage 2 Hodgkin lymphoma. Three months later, it was determined Mike had stage 2 seminoma, with cancer now in his stomach.

Dealing with all of this is unthinkable, but there's more. The two are also parents. Jennifer has a son in college and Mike and Jennifer are parents to three boys: Reid (five) Nick (eight), and Zack (nine). Both Nick and Zack have special needs.

After each underwent chemotherapy late last year, both Mike and Jennifer are now in remission. They're back to work and trying to get their sons back into the swing of a normal routine.

The odds that a married couple would both be fighting cancer at the same time, two different times, is almost unthinkable. Jennifer says she and Mike learned a lot from everything they've been through. She tells the Dubuque Telegraph Herald, “It showed us we are meant to be together because we’ve now done this twice together. And it made us realize life is short and not to take it for granted.”

Let's hope neither one of them have to fight the battle a third time. Dieter and Associates of Dubuque is raising money to help them with medical expenses. You can help by calling 563-582-2277 or here. If you pray, please keep Jennifer, Mike, and their entire family in mind.

IN TODAY'S TH: “The odds are so against it that a couple would have cancer together,” Jennifer Avenarius said. “And,...

Posted by Telegraph Herald on Friday, March 25, 2016