Jenn Lyon, the fourth-place Survivor: Palau contestant, sadly lost her five-year battle with breast cancer on January 19 at the age of 37. She shared her brave story — and her determination to help others who were battling cancer — with In Touch exclusively, shortly before her death.
"I decided that if they chose not to do treatments anymore, I don't see them as giving up," Jenn said. "For a long time, I was thinking that way, and thinking I can't give up and don't want to give up. It's not about giving up, it's about making a decision of how you want to live your life. I would rather live out the life I have feeling okay and feeling good than feeling miserable and trying and trying to hold on to life a little bit longer."
Jenn had wanted to live her life as full as she could until the end, with or without treatment. After her last round of chemotherapy, she told doctors she would not do any more. Jenn then had gone overseas to Switzerland to try experimental drugs, and she had stated, "I am so willing to do all these trials and be a guinea pig for whatever, because I think that it will help people in the long run."
She had to look beyond this life for strength. "I did hypnotherapy, as visualization is a big thing that I believe in, and that helped me get through things," she explained. "Just visualizing there is an end to this and it will be better on the other side, so that I can get through this. That helped me."
She also credited being on Survivor: "It was such an amazing experience. I really think it helped me get through everything I've had to go through. I don't know how I would have done this without that experience. Survivor prepared me."
Jeff Probst, host of Survivor, had become very close with Jenn and had spent time with her until the end. "Over the past several weeks, we had some beautiful talks about life and death," he says. "Jenn was so willing to share what she was feeling, including the very real and very scary parts of dealing with terminal cancer. Her wisdom about how to live a life with quality seemed to grow with each passing day. I am so grateful she chose to share so much with me."