Stephanie Crutchfield Jones, 36 of Alamo, defeated cancer and showed the community unbelievable strength, faith and love before she left her worldly home on Sunday, May 17.
Stephanie learned about her breast cancer diagnosis in 2016 when she was 32 years old. At that time, she found a lump while doing a self-exam and spoke with her gynecologist the next morning, not knowing that this appointment would not only change the course of her own life but those around her as well.
Stephanie never faltered in her faith and while the community rallied around her showing love and support, her presence became a symbol of unwavering faith and love to everyone.
In an interview with Stephanie in October 2019, she recalled this time in life saying, “Instantly people started showing love in so many ways that I never even thought of, especially students at school that I didn’t even realize knew my name. They would come up and hug me and tell me they were praying for me and tell me they loved me and were just being totally supportive. People helping with my children and bringing food and holding fundraisers.”
The overwhelming support from the community surrounded her until the end and will continue as many “raise a hallelujah” in her celebration of life this week.
She received radiation and chemo treatments throughout her journey that put her in remission at times.
In August 2018, she began to notice a small cough where she couldn’t get her throat cleared. A computerized tomography (CT) scan revealed four spots on her lungs and a positron emission tomography (PET) scan showed two spots on her liver.
In June 2019, the breast cancer formed again in spots on her lungs and liver. The breast cancer had moved into her blood stream and was allowing it to move into other areas of her body.
After this diagnosis, she decided to quit working at Crockett County Middle School during the 2019-20 school year and enjoy time with her family and friends.
She said, “it’s hard and I try not to worry but when I start to worry, I know I need to pray, and I can’t live every single day worrying. Without my faith, I could not have done this. This is my third time. I think it’s probably drawn my son, Braden McCanless, closer to the Lord. He’s become strong for me. He’s so encouraging and of course my little girl, Edye Jones, is too young to understand. She doesn’t understand why I’m so tired all the time or why I don’t feel good.”
Drew Wirwa found Stephanie inspiring. He said, “Stephanie brings joy everywhere she goes. Her resolve is inspiring and contagious to those around her. Her gym-mates have come to depend on her matter-of-fact attitude and witty humor at 5 each morning.”
Last February, Stephanie gave a talk at Alamo First Christian Church, in which she talked about Philippians 4:6, and how her faith has increased with each and every diagnosis.
“Stephanie’s words are so powerful because they’re not just words; the way she lived her life is her testimony, and it’s having an incredible and eternal impact on this community,” said Wirwa. “Stephanie, Seth and their family have put their faith into action in a way that we can’t describe. The way they have taken on this disease leaves no doubt that God is on the throne, and He loves us more than we can imagine.”
A few weeks ago, Stephanie began having pain in her ear and returned to the doctor once again to learn that her cancer had spread once more. She didn’t want to continue the chemo treatments and be sick with the time she had left with her family. She began radiation therapy. She spent time with her friends and family and was beyond excited to see the community parade past her house playing praise music, funny music, holding signs, offering gifts, and ultimately many breaking quarantine guidelines to hug, hold and love a community that supported her along every step.
While the support she received helped her keep going, the individuals in the community were changed forever by the way she chose to tackle cancer and stand in faith knowing cancer was a worldly disease and her eternity wasn’t of the world.
“Stephanie was always kind and courageous and always had a smile and I can’t remember her ever being bitter about anything or anyone all throughout school,” said Laura Roberts. “To know her was to love her.”
Lauren Hughes, praise singer at Alamo First Christian Church, posted on Facebook, “You beat cancer! But it was long before Jesus came to meet you! You beat it every time you chose to smile when you wanted to cry! You beat it every time you chose faith instead of fear! You laughed in its face, when it tried to still your joy! Every single day you lived to the fullest you threw major shade on that disease! And when you put your hands up in the air to worship, the devil vacated the room because it was just you and God! I will count it one of my greatest blessings to have had a front row seat to watch you worship! When I close my eyes, I can see you from the stage. You were the one with the heaviest burden but yet, your hands were lifted the highest! Singing the loudest! And teaching the rest of us what real authentic I can’t get close enough to you Jesus worship looks like! Thank you my beautiful friend! And I will celebrate your victory today because I know those beautiful hands are now being held by the angels.”
Visitation for Stephanie was held Tuesday, May 19 at Alamo First Christian Church. Her services will be held at the church on Wednesday May 20 at 5 p.m. as her church and community celebrate her life and impact on not only the community but also the world, as her story was shared online more than any other video has ever been shared in this community.
Stephanie shared with The Crockett County Times staff in that interview, “I will never not have it now.”
Never is today as she enjoys her new cancer free body in the presence of God.