When 2018 graduate Rosemary Jepsen was diagnosed with ovarian cancer earlier this year while taking culinary classes at Moraine Valley Community College, it shocked, stunned and devastated her mother Jenn and the rest of the Jepsen family to the core. It was a life-changing moment for a family who already had dealt with Rosemary’s difficult health related issues over the years. But what emerged from this dire situation was a story of love, courage and inspiration to overcome overwhelming odds.
Jenn Jepsen took a leave of absence from teaching at OLCHS to be with her ailing daughter, and the family fought the disease together. It was a struggle and caused the family to question everything. However, through chemotherapy treatment, Rosemary’s cancer is now in regression, and she is on her way to a full recovery. Her mother has returned to teaching at the school, and the future is looking bright once again.
With the Jepsen family being part of the OLCHS community as both student and teacher, baseball head coach Bill Gerny decided to play a game in honor of Rosemary’s fight and to use it for inspiration for others who may face difficult times and challenges. On Monday, Rosemary threw out the first pitch before Oak Lawn’s game against Evergreen Park, and the Jepsen family was acknowledged.
“It’s nice to see the staff and players come together to recognize someone who has had to deal with such hardship,” Gerny said. “I think it helps everyone to put things in perspective.”
The Spartans went on to defeat Evergreen Park, 9-0, behind strong pitching from Bryan Green, Michael Kass, and Kevin Swatek. It was a sign of the close-knit atmosphere held between staff and students at OLCHS.
“We are humbled by the support of Coach Gerny and the OLCHS baseball program and community,” Jenn Jepsen said. “It is heart-warming to see the school rally around a former Spartan and let her know she is not alone in her recovery. We are forever grateful.”