Community rallies behind Cornelius mother battling rare eye cancer for second time

Community rallies behind Cornelius mother battling rare eye cancer for second time

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — A local mother fighting a rare cancer for the second time was all smiles Saturday night as the community rallied around her for a fundraiser to support her family.

Jessica Boesmiller is a wife and mother of four and is once again, facing a battle against ocular melanoma.

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She was first diagnosed in 2017 when she was pregnant with twins.

"When the babies were still in utereo, I had surgery to remove my eye and three weeks later, I had my twins and I was cancer free for a little over a year," Boesmiller said. "Then, I found out this past April that cancer had metasticized to my liver."

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The rare cancer normally impacts five out of a million people, but there have been nearly two dozen cases of ocular melanoma in the Huntersville area.

Saturday night's event was about raising money for Boesmiller's medical costs, but also spreading awareness.

"If people can remember to go get their eyes checked because that's something that is so important," Boesmiller said. "If they catch this soon enough, they can treat it differently."

Dozens of people packed Cornelius Brewery to raise money for Boesmiller and her family.

"People have told me they've added me to prayer lists literally all over the world and that's completely fantastic in my mind that we have people that are willing to take time out of their day to pray for someone that they don't even know," Boesmiller said.

She said the support is what is lifting her up and what she hopes others will take away from her story.

"If you have someone like that in your life, whether you know them well or not, raise them up and give them support because that's what I use in my fight," Boesmiller said. "It's overwhelming to see so much support."

Boesmiller said she has started immunotherapy and goes for treatment every three weeks. She said she is focused on getting healthy and taking care of her family.

"I hope to meet my great-grandchildren some day. My goal is to watch my children grow to be adults," Boesmiller said.

On Thursday, Channel 9 reported the town of Huntersville wants to test four places for possible links to the mysterious cancer cases.

The places include Hopewell High School, North Mecklenburg Park, Stephens Road Nature Preserve, and Fire Station Three.

Officials picked these spots because they seem to have the most ties to the cancer patients.

They will use soil tests to see if there are chemicals or heavy metals that could cause eye cancer.