A few months ago, life was good. Jennifer Jones Austin felt great. Her career in public service was thriving. When she and her family posed for their Christmas card pictures they had no idea there was a chance she wouldn't make it to Christmas.
"Everything was looking good. I was going to the gym and I was running around with the kids everything was great and then one day I woke up with a fever."
That fever turned out to be leukemia.
Suddenly -- at age 41 -- Jennifer is facing the real possiblilty she won't see her children grow up.
After years of working in public service today Jennifer is the one who needs help. She desperately needs a bone marrow transplant to save her life. But right now there's no match for her in the bone marrow registry.
Getting tested to see if you're a match for Jennifer or someone else is easy. A simple swab of the mouth with a q tip.
But finding a donor for Jennifer is especially challenging because she's black. And there's a severe shortage of black donors in the bone marrow registry.
There are also misconceptions that donating bone marrow is painful and involves surgery. When in most cases now, there's no surgery and it's more like just donating blood. The fact that people are coming forward is giving Jennifer and her family hope.
Jennifer's father was a prominent brooklyn pastor. Through many of the family's connections black churches throughout the city are stepping up to host donor drives.
For a list of local donor drives visit savejenaustin.com
For other options and general information check out bethematch.org
"I can't imagine living the rest of my life without having her next to me without her support.without her being a fantastic mother to our children. To being a beautiful wife that she is. She lights up this house."
Even during this painful time, Jennifer is thinking about others. "What I'm really hopeful for is that through me.. not only will i benefit but that we'll be able to help so many other people."