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Jess

A song dedicated to her by a person she hardly knew is providing encouragement to cancer patient Jessica Girard.

The 21-year-old Ruscom woman was diagnosed last Dec. 27 with stage 4 colon cancer, and has spent much of the last year in and out of hospitals for surgery and chemotherapy. Shortly after the diagnosis, Girard learned the cancer had spread to her reproductive organs.

Last week, without her knowledge, a tribute song about her turned up on YouTube .

The song titled Jess was written and sung by Windsor musician David Pinard, 24, who learned about Girard's plight from a mutual friend. In just over a week, the song has more than 700 views.

"We're not really close friends," said Pinard. "When I heard about it, I thought how it was such a shame that something like that could happen to someone so young."

When he finally got the chance to meet Girard, he found her to be upbeat and positive about her future.

"She's one amazing person, and I think that's what I wanted people to know by writing the song."

Girard, a third-year nursing student, admitted she was a little embarrassed to hear someone had dedicated a song to her on YouTube.

"I first saw it while studying for an exam at school," she said. "I didn't tell anybody."

Later, when word got out, she and her family watched the four-minute video together.

"He has a line in there about hoping it would put a smile on my face," said Girard. "The funny thing is when my family and I finished watching it there tears in our eyes!"

Girard is the daughter of Robert and Marie Girard in Ruscom. She has two sisters, Amanda, 25, and Sara, 18.

The fact there is a history of cancer in her family didn't ease the shock of her diagnosis two days after Christmas last year.

"Mine's a rare form of colon cancer (signet ring adenocarcinoma) and at first we thought it was cervical cancer," she said.

Because of her age and the type of cancer "she was barely 20 when she started experiencing severe pain in her abdomen" doctors didn't treat it seriously at first.

"I was told it was a hormonal thing," she said. "You really have to push yourself if you're young."

Girard is convinced if she hadn't insisted on more testing, the cancer might not have been discovered.

"It's important for young people to know their bodies, know the signs."

While the cancer has responded well to chemo and surgery, Girard said she isn't out of the woods, yet. "They don't say I'm in remission, but the prognosis is getting better every day."

This isn't the first time someone has rallied to Girard's cause. A benefit for her was held last April at the Belle River Knights of Columbus.

"That night for me was overwhelming," she said. "You could feel the love in the hall."

-- Story by Ted Shaw, The Windsor Star