Ten years ago, in the fall of 2001, I was settling into my freshman year of college when I got a call from my aunt. My mom and my sister were too heartbroken to share the news with me: my seven year old niece had a brain tumor.
I vividly remember standing hand-in-hand with my family, surrounding Jessica’s hospital bed, praying with every ounce of my being for a miracle. And then we waited for what felt like days, hours, decades. We waited and waited. In all my life, I have never had a heavier heart than I did the day Jessica was wheeled off to have that incredibly scary and incredibly risky brain surgery.
And it was the most extraordinary miracle when she regained consciousness, softly singing: “Jesus loves me, this is I know…”
Regrettably, Jessica’s fight doesn’t end there. The cancer that first invaded her body in 2001 has recurred again, and again, and again. In truth, I’ve lost count.
|Jessica’s 16th birthday in the hospital, 2010
Our sweet and courageous survivor, Jessica, has bravely faced ten years of MRIs, radiation, finger sticks, blood draws, chemotherapy, clinical trials, medication, surgery, IVs, physical therapy, appointments, hospital beds, and bad news.
A few weeks ago, she got some more bad news: the tumor at the base of her spine had more than doubled in size in just a couple weeks time. Wrought with pain attributed to this aggressive growth, Jessica was admitted into the hospital and she is now courageously undergoing an extremely potent round of chemotherapy.
Despite years of battling cancer, Jessica has maintained awe-inspiring faith, often comforting those around her, saying: “I’m not done yet.“ She’s been beating the odds for ten years and believes with all her heart that this journey is God’s plan for her.
Jessica and her team of family and friends, a.k.a. “Jessica’s Jackpots,” have been working with CancerFree KIDS
to support pediatric cancer research to find a cure
. Because of her work with this incredible organization, Jessica has been nominated as “Volunteer of the Year” by the social fundraising group, Stay Classy.
And here is where I am asking you–no, begging you, to please, please, PLEASE vote for Jessica: http://classyawards.stayclassy.org/classy-awards/voting
- Scroll down to Individual/Group Categories,
- Click on “Volunteer Of The Year,”
- Click the VOTE button for “Jessica’s Jackpots,”
- Finally, Click the “Submit My Votes” button at the top of the page.
Jessica is currently in fourth place and while I know I am extremely biased, she deserves this award. And truly, she needs it.
|Jessica, Amy & Clara at the Butterfly Walk benefiting CancerFree KIDS, 2011
|Jessica’s Jackpots at the Butterfly Walk, 2011
Jessica, and her entire entourage of family and friends, draw strength from raising awareness and funding for childhood cancer research. And your vote will help raise money for CancerFree KIDS.
More importantly, it will keep Jessica’s hope alive.
Because this means so much to me, I am making this into a GIVEAWAY by raffling off an Apple iPod Shuffle 2GB
(4th Generation–the newest model). You choose the color!
Why an iPod Shuffle? Well, I’ve been glued to my beloved Shuffle every day since Jessica’s latest recurrence. Emory Austin said it best: “Some days there won’t be a song in your heart. Sing anyway.“
To ENTER for the iPod Shuffle:
- You MUST VOTE for Jessica’s Jackpots and leave a comment telling me you voted.
- For additional entries spread the word:
- Post on your Blog, Facebook, and/or Twitter, then…
- Leave another comment for each way that you’ve spread the word about Jessica/this giveaway.
The giveaway will be open until Sunday, August 21st at midnight (California time). I will announce the winner on Monday, August 22nd.
Thank you for voting. And thank you for sharing your hope.
“Once you choose hope, anything is possible.” (-Christopher Reeve)