In Memoriam

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Jennifer Ariane Nonas ’00

A picture of Jennifer Nonas

Jennifer Ariane Nonas ’00, January 1, 2014, from pneumonia. Jen had an intense two-year struggle with cancer, which she charted in her blog, Jen’s blog, while created for her to chronicle her experience with cancer, serves as an exemplary resource guide for those navigating the journey of cancer as a bystander. Along with narrating the battles with the cancer forms she named Lumpy, Sneaky, and the Rebel Forces, Jen catalogued what forms of support are actually helpful (and not helpful), and provided insight into how cancer may affect relationship roles. Jen came to Reed from West Milford, New Jersey, and earned a BA in psychology, completing the thesis “How Happy Will I be if I Lose? The Effect of Sensation Seeking on the Self-Prediction of Emotional States” with her adviser, Prof. Kathryn Oleson [psychology 1995–], who, along with Jen’s friend Moira Tofanelli ’99, contributed significantly to this memorial. After Reed, Jen worked as a web developer with CollegeNet in Portland and then attended Drexel University, where she earned a master’s degree in art therapy; most recently, she worked for WES Health Care in Philadelphia. Jen’s graduate thesis was on optimism, a practice she herself engaged in throughout her life and health struggles: continuing to delight in tastes of gelato when well enough; scripting an anticancer lullaby; creating a cancer cell cat toy so that her cat “could kill some cancer, too”; relishing chance meetings with neighbors while practicing walking on her prosthetic leg on sunny days through her Philadelphia neighborhood, Passyunk; and finding pride in her daily accomplishments.

While a consistently cheerful and lighthearted person, Jen held a depth of understanding of the world and herself that many can only hope to manifest. She demonstrated such self-awareness when, postamputation, she penned on her “little leg” a quote from Walt Whitman:

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,

Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing

Strong and content I travel the open road.

Survivors include her parents, two sisters, two brothers, and her fiancé, Kenneth Lamb.

Appeared in Reed magazine: June 2014

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