Jess’ Story

Jess was an 8 year old little girl, who loved her family, friends and being mischievous! She was spirited, kind and loved making noise, particularly on her euphonium! She was generally happy, healthy and enjoyed being a ‘mini mum’ as she would say (the picture below perhaps explains where that name came from!) but only 8 years and 2 months into her life, everything changed…..

On 18th September 2019, we received the most devastating news; Jess had leukaemia. We couldn’t believe it- only hours earlier Jess had been playing at school. 

Leukaemia  ALL (cancer of the blood) progresses quickly and aggressively, so we were instantaneously catapulted into a world of chemo, operations, transfusions, hospital stays, intensive care and lots of medical procedures that (up until that point) we had very little knowledge of. As adults, we were frightened, knowing all too well the fragility of human life. But Jess was a fighter, her bravery and courage were part of who she was, so we were hopeful that would help to get her through.

We were surrounded by knowledgeable professionals, promising statistics and lots of help and support. All of which reassured us we were in good hands and helped us to tackle the battle head on. Charities such as Candlelighters helped us along the way; they offer support (for both patients and families), practical advice and relief in terms of normality and fun (wherever possible) in between the medical procedures . We will forever be thankful to them, and have raised nearly 10k for them since October last year.

In spite of all this, the 18th October 2019 brought some tragic news. Exactly a month after diagnosis, Jess lost her battle. None of us were expecting it. Like her diagnosis, Jess’ death was sudden- only hours earlier she’d been painting pictures in the hospital playroom. 

At the time, no one could explain to us what had happened. Not only had we lost our beautiful, spirited, mischievous little girl, but we didn’t understand why.

Now we were catapulted into another world we knew little of; a world of understanding how such a tragedy could happen. It took months for us get confirmed answers, which finally came through the coroner’s report. The doctor with us explained that medical advances in children’s leukaemia had come a long way, but there is still a long way to go. The treatment used to fight the Leukaemia (whilst necessary) had led to side effects that were sadly fatal. Medically speaking, Jess had been one of the statistics we were warned about- one of the children who wouldn’t make it. 

Jess will never be a statistic to us. She was the loving, spirited little girl who taught us about bravery and courage and about looking for the rainbows when it rains. As Jess’ mum, I am committed that Jess’ memory will live on, that her fighting spirit keeps going (in every sense of the word!) and that something positive will come of our tragedy. I would love to see a world where no child and family ever has to experience what we did. 

If you would like to get in touch, you can email me at jill@teamjess.co.uk or you can follow us on Twitter @TeamJess_UK