World of Jenks Season Two tells the compelling stories of three individuals, one of which is literally fighting for her life. Andrew Jenks was with 27-year-old fashion designer and comic-book co-author, two-time cancer survivor Kaylin Andres as she moved to New York to follow her dreams last year, and then almost immediately suffered a recurrence of Ewing’s Sarcoma, the first kind of cancer she was diagnosed with.
Kaylin has been posting sporadic updates of her current treatment on her blog Cancer Is Hilarious, where she also accepts donations to help her life day-to-day and make a dent in her mounting medical bills. Because she aged out of her parents insurance and has been unable to find full-time work before she got sick again, Kaylin is grateful for any help she can get.
In her last post, dated March 25, Kaylin thanked everyone who has helped her financially and/or sent her emails:
“Thank you to everyone who has donated to my special-needs trust. My heart swells.
It occurs to me daily that I am almost entirely surviving on the kindness of strangers.
I think of old wildlife documentary footage showing altruism in social animals like elephants, taking care of their sick & old because they still offer some kind of benefit to elephant society. I feel like a sick elephant sometimes.”
In early March Kaylin wrote a blog post for The Huffington Post about her experience filming the MTV show:
Some cancers just can’t take a hint. You can poison with chemo cocktails, butcher with surgery, burn with radiation, and they still won’t leave you alone. You can’t get a restraining order against a tumor, I’ve been told. My cancer can’t get enough of me. My cancer keeps coming back. And so I’ve decided to accept my illness in order to move on with my life — instead of cure or die, I’ve chosen truce. I’ll keep my life — and cancer can have supervised visitation rights.
The problem is, once you make the decision to become ‘frenemies’ with your illness, you accept being defined by it, and cancer has a nasty reputation. If one were to Google my name, cancer comes up before fashion design, the other thing that used to define and consume my life. I am no longer Kaylin the fashion designer, I am Kaylin with cancer. I’m proud to identify as a survivor and advocate, so why do I still feel ashamed to have cancer?
In 2011, MTV’s World of Jenks approached me about filming a documentary series on my life as young adult cancer survivor. The crew followed me for more than a year, as I moved from San Francisco to NYC to pursue my career and a fresh start (the season premieres tonight, March 4). They wanted to emphasize that cancer was not my identity — I was a fashion designer, writer, friend, daughter and sister before cancer ever pushed its way into my life. There are moments when I question my choice to share so much of my private life with viewers, but I remind myself that I participated in this project to promote cancer awareness and help change the way people perceive this disease.
Kaylin underwent a massive surgery in early 2013 to remove a dinner plate size tumor in her chest, and will be undergoing months of chemotherapy and radiation therapy to attempt to eliminate the cancer from her system.