On Saturday, Eden resident Jemma Hall returned to Bombala to celebrate her 30th birthday at the Bombala Cup.
It was a milestone that Jemma had often thought she might not make.
Four days before her 18th birthday, Jemma was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and was started on a regime of immunosuppressant’s.
Then when she was 23, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer.
“I underwent a series of operations before I got the all clear. But six months later, the cancer came back.
“Because I take an immunosuppressant, the cancer cells grew back quicker with cancer cells growing on top of themselves, which led to more surgery,” she said.
Much to Jemma’s surprise she fell pregnant during this time.
“I wasn’t trying for a baby because I was taking an immunosuppressant which can cause abnormalities in babies.”
The drug meant Jemma had only a 64 per cent chance of having a successful birth and an 84 per cent chance her baby could be born with deformities.
But Jemma gave birth to her daughter Faith.
“Faith is my miracle baby, I was very blessed to have her,” Jemma said. “I never thought I would be a mum, but I enjoy every single day.”
Apart from Jemma’s battle with illness, she also battled a weight problem. She said she had always been a ‘big’ kid and at her 21st birthday she weighed 126kgs.
She decided to do something about her weight and started doing ‘Hip-Hop’ dancing.
“I used to dance for four or five hours a day and after six months I had lost 25kg. Then I changed my diet and started eating properly and ended up losing 52kg which led me to become a finalist for the Most Inspiring Weight Loss story,” she said.
Unfortunately, after Jemma gave birth to Faith, she once again got very sick and was consequently diagnosed with Lichen Schlerosis.
She ended up losing another 10kg which took her weight to an unhealthy 42kg, but she has since managed to put on a few kilos.
Recently Jemma and Faith were involved in a nasty car accident on Mt Darragh Road.
“There was a car travelling on the wrong side of the road and when I moved over to avoid collision my car slid down the embankment.
“Fortunately, Faith didn’t have a scratch on her and I was only slightly hurt.”
Although Jemma has medical check-ups every six months, Crohn’s disease is incurable.
“Because of the immunosuppressant’s, I am expecting one of the diseases will return and attack my immune system,” she said.
In the meantime Jemma is enjoying being a mum to her “Chunky Monkey”, Faith.