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Big lift: Strongman helps young mother with cancer

Updated: Thursday, October 10 2013, 12:25 AM CDT

Posted by: Jason Bristol

DERRY TOWNSHIP -- One of the world's strongest men is lifting the spirits of a young mother battling ovarian cancer. In turn, she's inspired him with her strength and determination.

Mike Jenkins, who finished fourth this year in the World's Strongest Man competition in China, met Irina Blantz of Lancaster County through one of the members of his gym, CrossFit Gamma in Hershey.

"I just got back from China, where I was around 30 of the strongest men in the world," said Jenkins. "And all of us combined, pale in comparison to the strength she has everyday."

Blantz has been battling ovarian cancer since being diagnosed in May 2012. "I get sad, because I have children and a husband and family," she said.

Her chemo treatments can suck the life out of this bubbly 33-year-old.

"Yeah, she gets tired easily," said son Josh, 13. "I've noticed that."

"It makes me sad," added her other son Payton, who's seven.

To make matters worse, her health insurance through work was cut -- just days before her first treatment was scheduled. Her family's finances are running on empty. "We barely make it," said her husband Arlington.

But Irina still believes everything in life happens for a reason. "Because through my journey," said a crying Irina, "I have met people that needed me."

Doctors believe she may live 3-5 more years. Yet she says she prays for others, instead, so they may have the strength to handle their troubles.

If she was to say, 'Lord, give me strength,' she would never have imagined strength arriving in a package like this.

Enter Jenkins, who pulls fire trucks and lifts 500-pound boulders.

He collected money for Irina's medical expenses and presented the family will a check for more than $8000.

Jenkins, 6'6" and 400 pounds, got choked up while hugging the delicate, yet determined, cancer patient.

"I don't see myself as strong. I'm not the only one going through this," said Irina, crying. 'There's thousands, millions of women worldwide going through what I'm going through.

"They don't have Mike on their side. I'm blessed."

Read more: Hope for Irina

you can also read more about her battle with ovarian cancer on her website.

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Big lift: Strongman helps young mother with cancer

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