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Chacon Conquering ObstaclesPosted: Updated:
DONNA – Challenges in life can come when you least expect it. In 2016, Jennifer Chacon’s family received devastating news.
“My dad was taken by ICE,” said Chacon. “My dad got deported my junior year.”
In the blink of an eye, her father was sent away. Instead of letting that bring her down, Chacon tried to lift up her family.
Especially her mother.
“I didn’t want her to see me affected by it that much, so she could lean on me,” said Chacon.
The Donna North senior has been working after school ever since to help support her family financially. On top of that, she’s a full-time student that’s already earning college credits.
It doesn’t end there though.
Chacon took it to the next level in cross country, becoming the first girls runner in school history to qualify for the state meet.
“She just kept on going,” said Donna North coach Roy Corpus. “There were days when she was down, but she kept on going. She’s a fighter.”
“Running was kind of like an escape from everything I was going through,” said Chacon.
Almost a year after her father’s deportation, the family was hit with another shocker. Jennifer’s sister Jaquelyne was diagnosed with leukemia.
“When we found out, the family broke down,” said Chacon. “It was a strong hit. I had to be strong for my mom and my two little brothers who look up to me.”
Chacon again fought through adversity. She dedicated her performance at this year’s cross country regionals to her sister.
With Jaquelyne back home receiving treatment, Chacon battled her emotions and qualified for state once again.
“I kept hearing coach telling me to run for my sister,” said Chacon. “Run for your sister. At the middle of the race, I was super emotional about to cry. It was making me stronger and run faster.”
Last week, Chacon signed with Western College where she’ll earn financial aid running track and cross country.
It was a gratifying moment shared with her family, including Jaquelyne right by her side.
“I never expected any of this to happen and suddenly all these things started happening,” said Chacon. “Regionals, state, the scholarship and I was pretty amazed.”
Chacon continues to support her family financially in her father’s absence. She says U.S. Immigration and Customs ruled he won’t be eligible to return to the country for nine years.
Chacon also says her sister has stayed strong through chemotherapy treatments.
The Chacon family hopes she can speed through those next battles just as Jennifer has done on the track.