Cancer during COVID-19: Jessica Fleckenstein’s story

Jessica and her husband shaving their heads simultaneously via FaceTime

Her diagnosis came in the midst of a pandemic. Cancer. Hospitalized shortly before our temporary visitor limitations went into place, Jessica Fleckenstein knew she still wanted to involve her husband and 2-year-old son in the process of shaving her head, before she began losing her hair to treatment. That’s where nurse coordinator Lindsey Clifford and our Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) patient team came in, helping her plan a virtual head shaving party and bringing her loved ones close (virtually) on an emotional day.

Kathy Whiteside, patient and family life specialist with the AYA Cancer Program, said the team worked with Jessica’s husband to make the party meaningful. Family photos, special music in the background, and a wooden box to keep a lock of her hair were all included. Our staff helped Jessica shave her head, while her husband simultaneously shaved his head via FaceTime.

Although Jessica’s family couldn’t be there with her, she wasn’t without support and a hand to hold. Our team stood with Jessica as she faced this disease. Now more than ever, we’re in this together.


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