12:40 PM EDT 03/19/2015
Originally posted 01/25/2010 01:20PM
While a special Ethan Zohn cam at the Jan. 9 Survivor 10-year anniversary party in L.A. was set up so well-wishers could send greetings to the Africa winner – who was on the East Coast recuperating from a stem-cell transplant for a rare form of Hodgkin's disease – Zohn's friend from the Palau season, Jenn Lyon, was receiving visitors in a small room, fragile from her weakening battle against breast cancer.
Among those Lyon wanted to see was Zohn's girlfriend and Amazon winner Jenna Morasca. "When she saw her," says Lyon's sister Kim, "they definitely had their own good cry together. Jenna and Ethan are going through so much."
"She couldn't have looked more beautiful," Morasca says of Lyon. "I can't imagine how draining that was for her, to be surrounded by so many people that loved her, but her spirit could light up an entire room."
Originally posted 01/21/2010 12:00PM
As a contestant on Survivor: Palau, blonde and beautiful nanny Jenn Lyon used her wit and engaging demeanor to survive for 37 of 39 days, finishing in fourth place. Although she didn't win the big prize, she did secure a lifetime of friendships – a reward that would comfort her in the years following the May 2005 finale, as she waged a five–year battle with breast cancer.
That hard-fought struggle to survive ended Tuesday, when Lyon died at the age of 37.
"She is the model of grace, and has been so brave," her fellow contestant, Ian Rosenberger, told PEOPLE earlier this month, at a Survivor 10 reunion. Said Lyon: "Survivor taught me there's an end in sight. As hard as it is, it will be over, and you have to appreciate every day."
Originally posted 01/20/2010 02:10PM
Jennifer Lyon, who placed fourth on Survivor: Palau in 2005, died at her home in Oregon Tuesday night, PEOPLE has confirmed. She was 37.
The reality TV star was first diagnosed with stage-three breast cancer a few months after she wrapped Survivor, and opted for a modified, radical bilateral mastectomy, followed by courses of chemotherapy and tamoxifen, a drug used to prevent recurrence.
"In the summer of 2004, I felt something in my right breast that didn't feel normal," Lyon told PEOPLE in October 2005. "I thought it was probably scar tissue related to my breast implants. So I let it go – for a long time."
Being on the CBS competition boosted her spirits and provided an inner strength to battle her disease. "Survivor taught me there's an end in sight," she told PEOPLE. "As hard as it is, it will be over, and you have to appreciate every day."
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