MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Hugo mother is in a situation you almost have to hear to believe. She and her husband are both fighting illnesses.

And she is one of the 2,000 Target corporate employees who lost their jobs earlier this year. This is the first week she won’t receive a paycheck.

Jackie Veeder helped develop training curriculum for the company. She was one of 1,700 who lost jobs in March. The mother of three worked there for 14 years, alongside her best friend, Melissa Waldenburg.

In 2014, Veeder was a full-time Target employee and part-time student who hated asking for help.

“I worry so much about other people and their lives that I don’t want to bother them,” she said.

But people did start worrying when her husband, Parris, got sick.

She recalls the diagnosis: “two autoimmune diseases, one trying to kill his liver.”

darth veeder

Between trips to the Mayo Clinic, Veeder realized she wasn’t feeling well, either.

“They called, and the nurse said, ‘I’m so sorry to tell you this, but you have cancer,'” Veeder said.

It was breast cancer. She still didn’t want help, just distraction.

“I kept on going to work,” she said. “My Target family has been one of the most incredible families ever.”

As she lost her hair, her Target friends put on hats. Her best friend and officemate joined her for chemo treatments as Veeder worked through the pain.

But in March, while trying to heal, she got hurt again.

“When I got into work, I had a calendar invite that we all know is the calendar invite of death,” she said.

Waldenburg, her best friend, said, “I knew she could get through it, I knew people were going to help her get through it, but it just seemed like a lot to bear for one person.”

So her best friend and the others who kept their jobs started working for Veeder, sending moral and financial support.

“That’s been the most challenging,” Veeder said. “Accepting money in that way.”

But she said she’s had to do it, learning to be vulnerable so others might find strength.

“People should know your battle, because if they don’t know your battle, they’re not going to learn from you,” she said.

Veeder is done with chemo and waiting to see how her body responds and looking for a job. Her husband has another surgery soon.

To check out the fund her friends started, go here.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

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