Welcome to Jessica's Hope. This blog is designed to keep friends and family up to date on Jessica's journey with cancer. In all of this we have to always remember, just as Jessica is doing, that Christ is our ultimate hope. He is the sole reason that we live. To Him belong all glory and honor.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hope does not put to shame

A note from Jessica's Husband, Clint:

I would like to take this time to explain exactly what happened when Jessica died. There has been much confusion. Some people think God cruel for taking her the way He did. Others have told me that they are angry at God for me. How can that be? I want to honor God and my Wife by telling you of her choices. Jessica always struggled with making decisions but once she made a choice, she never turned back. It was the same in this case.
In August of 2010, Jessica began to suspect she was pregnant; she also noticed she had a sore throat. She went to the doctor because the pain did not go away. Because specialist referrals take so long, she was unable to get a diagnosis for the next two months. Sometimes it takes two to three weeks just to see an ENT or get lab results back. Around mid November Jessica began having trouble breathing and swallowing. We went to the ER on November 21st. All the doctors said she had goiter (which does not grow inward), so they thought Jessica was just imagining not being able to breathe. On the 22nd, Jessica's trachea closed and they had to force a breathing and feeding tube down. They did a CAT scan that same day and found an unusual cancer wrapped around her throat area.
The OB-GYN's came to see Jessica first and counseled her to have an abortion. Jessica refused immediately. Then the OB-GYNs, Oncologist, and Radiologist all encouraged her to receive treatments, but these treatments would either kill the baby or "not give [the baby] much of a life." I could see the fear in my Wife's eyes as she made the hardest decision of her life. Once again, she rejected the treatments in order to protect her baby. The doctors were at a loss. They told her she had until Thanksgiving to live and she would never make it to the point where the baby would be viable for life outside the womb. Still, Jessica refused the treatments out of concern they would harm the child.
Jessica's parents and I immediately argued with the hospital about food. They wanted to give her a corn-based solution composed of 30-40% corn syrup. As any nutritionist and doctor should know, sugar feeds cancer. After much debate, we began Jessica on a diet of raw, organic vegetable juices, teas, and various supplements. The cancer growth stagnated almost immediately. For about two months, the cancer stayed about the same size. Jessica faced numerous trials and hospital infections during this time. In late January, the doctors tested a leaking bulge on Jessica's neck. The bulge tested positive for strep, but Jessica showed no symptoms of being sick or having an actual infection elsewhere. The strep seemed isolated in the bulge. The doctors began giving her antibiotics to get rid of the strep. Two days later, the cancer mushroomed. For the next week it grew inexplicably fast. On the night of February 5th, Jessica fell asleep with a terrible headache and nausea. She did not wake up. The hospital declared her "brain deaf." I gave them the go ahead to deliver the baby. Jessica had made it to the viability point.
On Monday the 8th, we ran an apnea test to determine whether Jessica was brain dead or not. She was, and we removed her off the ventilator. Jessica did not die in vain. She made choices that she knew were what God wanted. She rejected potentially harmful treatments and literally gave her life for her baby to live. Beyond all hope, she brought the baby to a point that everyone said she would never reach. "Little Jessi" is now a living part of Jessica. Jessica's hope is realized in her and Little Jessi's hope rests in God alone.
God is to be praised, my Friends. He honored Jessica's obedience. What a beautiful picture of what Jesus did for us. Sin is an incurable disease with only one remedy: the judgment of God. Jesus took that judgment for us on the Cross. He gave His life and became sin for us even though He had never sinned and should never have died. We have been given eternal life through what Jesus has done for us. Do not doubt God; do not be angry with Him for me. I am privileged to have had a Wife who was so full of the love of the Father. Rejoice with me, Brothers and Sisters. God has blessed Jessica in taking her to place of perfect peace and no pain. I must be thankful for the time that I had with her rather than ungrateful for all the things we never got to do together. We must give thanks in all things for this is the will of God in Jesus Christ. Grace and Peace to all. Jessica's Husband, Clint.

57 comments:

  1. First, I am sorry for the separation until you meet again in heaven. Second, I cannot state strongly enough how much encouragement and peace and hope this post has given me. Thank you so much for sharing this truth with us. You have our prayers for you and your family as you move forward in the Lord.

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  2. Clint,

    I'm so glad you spoke up, here. Thanks for the words. Romans 5 has been my deepest prayer for you, so it was jaw-droppingly awesome to see the title of this post.

    Surely, God is good.

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  3. Praising the LORD for this post. Your wife was obedient, and she is being blessed beyond compare right now. I am sorry that you have this time of suffering for you. A friend of mine posted this on fb this morning... "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." 2 Corinthians 4:17 God bless you and Jessi! Praying for you right now!

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  4. Thank you Clint for your desire to see Christ magnified in this. Jessica's life is a beautiful picture of true Christianity lived out. We are praying for baby Jessi, and we trust she & Aiden will grow up to love the Savior you both love so much. We are still praying for you!

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  5. Wow. Thank you so much for sharing. I have thought about and prayed for you all so much and am so glad God has given you peace and joy in your suffering. You have reminded me to trust Him in all things, never take my family for granted, and be thankful for the present moments I have with them. I can see Christ in you, and I continue to pray that He gives you strength, peace, and hope for you and your children.

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  6. Thank you, thank you for posting this. Jessica's amazing courage and wonderful evidence of faith is such an encouragement.

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  7. This is a beautiful statement of faith and love. You are in our prayers.

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  8. Clint, you and your precious children will continue to be in our prayers. Thank you for sharing this beautiful testimony in which the grace of God is so abundantly evident.

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  9. Numbers 6:24-26
    24The LORD bless you and keep you; 25the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; 26the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

    Clint...thank you for sharing your story!! I am so encouraged to see how you are honoring the Lord in the midst of the hardest time in your life. I love how you shared the gospel so beautifully!! Praying for you and your family!!!

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  10. Thank you so much for sharing your grief with us. Your wife's love for God and her baby are such an encouragement and testimony!
    I'll be praying for you and your children as you go on living for the Lord.
    Liz

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  11. Clint, my family (and my church family) and I have been praying for you all through these past few months. Reading your post this morning was so moving for me. I realized in a new way just how powerful God's grace is as it is so evident in your lives. Please know that we are still praying and our hearts are with you. (Tom MacAvoy's sister... just to give you the connection. He's been keeping us up to date)

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  12. oh wow Clint. I have been praying for you and Jessica ever since I first heard about her cancer. I am so sorry for you and that is such a wonderful selfless thing that she did. Such a wonderful testimony to her family and her daughter. I will continue to pray for you and your family that the Lord will continue to give you the strength for the days ahead.

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  13. I saw this link on a Facebook post this morning. I'm a pastor's wife, mother of 8 children and have been in such despair recently. My husband survived a life threatening surgery leaving him with no adrenals, thus the inability to cope with much stress. Financial ruin has plagued us in recent months as a result of little to no income, but I am deeply touched by your post. I have been studying the sovereignty of God thinking I understand it, but as I read your post I am reminded I can really rejoice in HIS control when it looks like I shouldn't. Thank you for your encouraging words today!

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  14. Wow. This was spiritually uplifting and spiritually refreshing. Your praise to our Great God in a time of very real grief was a wonderful reminder for all of us to constantly praise Him. And your beautiful testament of your strong, godly wife was touching. I've been praying for you. Seeing these words was such an encouragement to me.

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  15. The Lord has truly been glorified through your lives! May He bless you and comfort you during the days ahead. I am praying for this precious child!

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  16. What a testament of the Lord's peace and what maturity and understanding your words convey. I still think of you as a preteen with Paul, but I been struck with how the Lord has used you & Jessica to be a bright light during the darkest of times. I pray you will come back to these posts during hard days to be reminded of how many of us are still praying for you, Jessi, and Aiden. I hope there will be a way to stay in touch to see how the Lord continues using Jessica's story to draw many to Him. Ps 61:2 ". . .when my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the Rock that is higher than I."
    Love & Prayers, Anne Young Snyder

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  17. you bring to life such faith in Christ Jesus!
    i feel so blessed to have known your story.
    i pray that everyone sees the light that shines through Jessica's Hope and through you.
    God bless you and your family.

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  18. Beautifully written. Jessica's life and her passing made a tremendous impact. And continues to do so.

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  19. Clint, you and your daughters are in my prayers.

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  20. You have painted a beautiful picture with words! I knew Jessica from camp when I was a teen. I never got to spend time with her, but watched her gracefulness and beauty from a distance. She was truly a Godly young lady and her story is inspiring. I will be praying for God's grace on you as you raise your children. Jessica is not the first of my friends to make the trip to heaven that seems early to most, but God has the timing in his hands and he has all wisdom. In Christ, Jennifer H.

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  21. Clint,

    I was led to your blog by Jodie Wright, who I used to attend church with...just...wow...

    I am a spokeswoman for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign..I travel the country talking about the regret & shame I live with for aborting 2 of my children over 10 years ago. Because of the Lord and His unending grace & mercy, I found healing.

    What you and your wife did was the most beautiful, perfect picture of Jesus. It just makes me weep. I truly believe that Jessica is in heaven taking care of millions of babies of those of us made the wrong choice...and I hope she is holding my 2 extra close... :)

    I pray God's peace & comfort over you and everyone involved in this situation...and I thank God that we do not mourn as those who have no hope. Because one day soon, Hope is coming for us.

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  22. I read this post while I was at work I am not ashamed to say your praise brought me to tears. To hear you thank God for the time you had with Jessica, to glorify him for blessing you with this little baby and your son as a part of your wife touched me to the very depths of my heart. God is going ot continue to bless you all I truly believe he has something special in mind for little "Jessi", when she is older and someone says tell me something special about you she can tell them how much her mom loved her, how much her daddy loved to her to trust God in the decision they made to let her live. Our prayers are with and will continue to be with you. Clint tell those babies everyday how much you love them and how special they are (I know you will) and let them know what a beautiful lady their mom was. May we all have the faith you and Jessica had. Thank you for sharing with us. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

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  23. What a phenomenal testimony.... Thank you so much for posting your family's story. GLORY TO GOD!!!
    ~kim (shanna steel's cousin)

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  24. Clint, Jonathan and I are so sorry for your loss. We pray for you continually. Thank you for your testimony of Our God. Jessica was faithful to the end and I pray that God would grow my faith as hers (and yours). Thank you for honoring His name above all else. I also pray for "little Jessi" and for Aiden, may they grow to love the Lord with all their heart, soul and mind.
    Liz Gould

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  25. Clint,

    I am going to keep you and your precious children in my prayers! Thank you for sharing this amazing story! What a great testimony!

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  26. What an amazing testimony. You and your family are in our prayers.

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  27. Clint,

    Tears came to my eyes as I read this moving testimony of God's grace. Thank you for your faithfulness. Will be keeping you and your family in prayer during this hard time.

    Adam Lee

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  28. Clint, this is one of the most powerful testimonies I've read in a while. What Jessica did was so brave and such a perfect picture of Christ dying so that we might live.

    I'm glad you took the time to share this post. The sort of faith you both have clearly shown through this process is rare and I know it has and will touch so many people's lives.
    I used to work on the oncology unit at Greenville Memorial so I know firsthand how stories like this stay with those who treat patients like your wife. I know the number of staff she must have come in contact with and I know she must have encouraged and inspired so many people as a result.

    I know this time has to be so hard for you and I'll be praying that you find the strength to make it through each day.

    Here's the link to the blog of a young guy who lost his wife to cancer just a couple of days after the birth of their daughter. He's a wonderful godly man and I've loved reading about his journey and seeing how God has given grace through the past couple of years since his wife passed away. I'm sure it would be an amazing encouragement since only someone who's been there can really understand what you're going through: http://bandssullivan.blogspot.com/

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  29. Clint, Just wanted you to know that Bryan and I have been praying for you and your family and will continue to do so. God be praised and we pray he continues to give you grace, peace, and wisdom in raising your little ones. Let us know if you need anything.
    Love in Christ, Bryan & Melissa McKinnon

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  30. To God be the glory great things He hath done! Your lives have already touched so many. I will continue to pray for your family and little Jessi.

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  31. Clint, I am so sorry.
    I have passed on this blog to quite a few and you're making impact in Canada...
    It is a privilege journeying in the Kingdom with you.

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  32. Clint,

    My wife let me know about this post. I'm so sorry for your loss, but it is clearly Jessica's gain to be with her Savior she loved so much. Thank you for sharing such a powerful testimony. I'm praying for God's grace for you and your family as you continue to live for Christ in the days ahead.

    Ben Edwards

    "Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am." --John 17:24
    http://www.ewordtoday.com/spurgeon/0322pm.htm

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  33. Clint,

    You are privileged to have and be in a family who exemplifies true love. Jesus said, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." - John 15:13 Imagine the testimony that your daughter will have and use in bringing souls to Christ to say that her mother laid down her life for her. May God's grace continue to be upon your family.

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  34. no greater love than this ... to lay down one's life for another. May Jessi know that great love ... and may God strengthen you for the role of modeling that truth for her.

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  35. Thank you for posting this great truth of True Love! You do not know us, but we have mutual friends and have been praying for you all sometime now. Please know that continued prayers are offered up for you and your family. God's great blessings on you as you rear your little ones for His glory. ~ The Guidingers

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  36. I have not yet had the blessing of meeting Jessica. But when I get to heaven, I will be looking for her. I will always remember Jessica and the sacrifice she made and the trust she had in her Lord.

    Clint, my prayers will continue to be with you and your family as you adjust to this time apart from Jessica. How sweet will be the reunion one day in the presence of our Savior!

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  37. Clint, I knew you from Bob Jones, but only as acquaintances. I remember your incredible excitement to be with Jessica, and what a sweet couple you were. I know your grief and sadness must be overwhelming.

    I have been so touched to hear and read of your precious wife's testimony, along with your own desire to see God glorified through such a fiery trial. Very few can fathom what you are going through, but we surely can and will be praying for our God to strengthen you and give you continual grace and peace in Him! Thank you for sharing all of your story on here, as this needs to be shared with as many people as possible! Her life and choice to give her own life for your unborn baby is such a picture of Christ and His sacrifice!

    You are honoring Jessica every single day that you choose to not live in anger and bitternes. Every day that you choose to rely on God's grace and to live your life for Him is the greatest memorial you could give her. Our family is and will continue to pray for you! Having gone through losing a Mom at a young age, I know the grief and pain, but I also know firsthand that God ALWAYS uses trials for a purpose far above what we can see. Just take one day at a time, because that is all God's promised us. His grace will be sufficient as you need it and as you call on it.
    Love and prayers in Christ,

    Sarah and Tom Wilbur

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  38. Thank you for sharing Jessica's story. I am sure her life and choices will continue to reach many people, even through her sacrificial death. To God be the glory. I am sorry you and your children lost your spouse and mother here on earth but so thankful we have the promise that this separation is only temporary. May God give you strength as you continue on without your beloved.

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  39. Our church in Barcelona will be praying for you, your family and friends. May the Lord be glorified in our lives as He has been in your wife's, and may many others come to really know Him through her testimony.

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  40. We have taken the liberty of translating this text into Spanish so that others in our language with have the challenge to fully live their lives for the glory of God. You can find it here: http://soloenel.wordpress.com/2011/02/19/y-la-esperanza-no-averguenza/

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  41. Clint, that is an amazing testimony. I will continue to pray for you as go forward for the glory of God.

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  42. Clint, I appreciated your testimony. I will keep you in my prayers.

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  43. Hello, My name is David I am a 14 year old and am a Freshman in High School. Most of you probably don't know me. But I am positive some of you know my Bible and Math teacher Seth Armstrong. He read this amazing story in Bible class a couple of days ago. this story really changed my perspective on life. There was a parallel in this that struck me right after my teacher read the testimony. Mrs. Council was willing to give her life in order to give life to her child. Then how much more was Jesus Christ willing to give his life that He might give life to the ones he loves. May God be blessed and praised by this testimony.

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  44. I am truly sorry for your loss--I know that its hard. My husband died when our son was 6 years old and our daughter was born 9 days later. Those were tough days--but days when I learned exactly what scripture means when it calls Jesus the Wonderful Counselor. It was hard when people told me how wonderful I was. I'm not. I wasn't. God is. I'm glad that you also know Him and can rest in Him. My kids are grown now--in all the places where I fell short, fell down, messed up--God made up. He has been awesome through everything.

    Practically speaking--if you need to talk to someone...just talk about your precious wife or if there is somehow that I can help, please contact Tom Council and he can give you my phone number.

    It does get better. It's been 22 years, and while there are still times when I am seriously lonely and miss my husband so much that it almost takes my breath away, remembering is more sweet than bitter. There have been so many times when I wished that he could see his kids and know what an awesome job God has done in their lives...and then I remember that I will have an eternity to tell him all about it when i join him in heaven.--kay

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  45. Clint, your wife lived and gave her life as poured out wine, you now, are the broken bread. Thank you forsharing your truth and strength amidst the pain.

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  46. I followed this blog via a post on Facebook. Thank you for sharing your story.

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  47. Clint, I found this post on FB and was drawn to it immediately. Thank you for sharing yours and Jessica's experience with the world. You are obviously a blessed man of God. I will continue to pray for the family at this time.

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  48. Thank you for sharing your amazing testimony of God's grace and love and faithfulness! What an encouragement to my heart and others. Praying for God's blessing, provision and comfort for you and your children!

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  49. Clint, your post was an encouragement beyond words in hearing her faith and yours. I'll be remembering you in prayer.

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  50. You have so many comments that I'm not sure you'll be able to read one more, but I want to write anyway.
    This story is one of beauty. What a brave, unselfish woman your wife was. I'm so glad you have Jessi. I hope she grows up to be as godly of a young woman as Jessica was.
    Blessings to you as you continue to honor God in all you do.

    Debbie

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  51. Clint,
    I came across your blog on the BJU Alumni FB page, and was saddened to hear of your loss. Your account of your wife's sacrificial love for your daughter was beautiful and could only take place in the life of one who had experienced Christ's same love. I will keep your and your children in my prayers as you press on, knowing that heaven now has one more wonderful thing for you to look forward to.
    Elizabeth (Comer) Ingalls
    Ps. 61:2

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  52. Clint,

    Our hearts go out to you. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

    John & Jen Bray
    Houston, TX

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  53. Clint,

    I was in society with you at BJU and a mutual friend pointed me to your blog a while back. I have been praying for you, and thank the Lord for you Christ-honoring testimony. I was burdened to pray for you today. God's grace is evident in you, and I pray that His grace will continue to uphold you.

    Grace & Peace,
    Jason Ehmann

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  54. Hi, I was just wondering if there was any way I could get in contact with the family?
    Are they doing okay financially? If not I would love to help out any way I can.

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  55. Hi Clint. What a testimony. I just saw it on Life site news and it immediatly reminded me of the story of St. Gianna Berta Molla. She did the saem exact thing as your wife back in the 1960's. I hope I would have the same courage as these two wonderful ladies but I know it must have been so hard for them. And for you now. Praying for you family and little Jessi. I will come back to get updates on her.

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  56. clint.
    i do not know you. but i sit sobbing reading your story while thinking...
    what an incredible man you are and what an incredible God we have that is holding you up. My family and I will begin to pray for you and Jessi, Precious love. Thank you for sharing your heart. It is moving.

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