Back a couple months ago while Jessi was in the hospital we met a family going through the struggles of cancer too. Lily Anderson was across the hall from us with her mom and grandma. They came and introduced themselves and from that moment we became special friends. Lily is 9 and is now out of the hospital and doing quite well. She did not have the same kind of cancer as Jessi but has been in and out of the hospital for the last year. A year ago October after Lily was initially diagnosed an organization called http ://www.supportkingdomkids.com/ organized an event called Lily's Run to help the family. The run was a huge success. So successful that they did it again this year and am pretty confident it will be an annual thing. So this year Lily's wish was for several other children to be granted a wish and Jessi was chosen as one of the recipients.
What an awesome example from a 9 year old that we should all learn from. Jessi was so grateful. She couldn't believe it. The run this year was on October 10th. We loaded up the car and drove to Cumming Georgia where the event is held. Jess was not feeling too good in the morning so we decided to pack a bag and head that way thinking if she did'nt get to feeling better the hospital was not that far away. Well, that is exactly what happened. We stayed at the event for about 2 hours too long and decided she needed to be seen to find out what was going on. She wound up staying in the hospital for 3 days. Fever and dehydrated.
We wouldn't have done anything different that day, Jess wanted to see what the run was all about. I just wish she would have felt better. Within the 2 hours we where there she got worse pretty quickly.
Kingdom Kids is a great organization and you can go to there website and read all about them and the kids that get helped. Kevin and Jodi Ford are the wish granters and they are some of the greatest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. It truly is all about the kids.
Jessi's wish was to go on a shopping spree to The Mall of Georgia in Buford and to shop without having to look just once at a price tag. Her wish was granted.
When Jess found out that she was gonna get her wish she came to our office and sat at the computer pen and paper in hand and started making a list of some of the kids on the AFLAC floor that she wanted to buy some things for. She had said that times where hard and it was even harder on families with sick kids, especially kids with cancer. She had a few other kids that where not in the hospital on her list also.
The week of November 8th the package came in the mail and was at home waiting on Jessi....She had planned to go shopping to get everyones gifts before Christmas. Jessi new the package was at home waiting on her. She never got to make that shopping trip. After Jessi passed and we came home the package was waiting. I saw Jodi Ford at Jessi's service and told her we would be sending it back. Amazingly she said not to, to keep it and fulfill Jessi's wish to buy for others. Wow is all I know to say. They had known about Jess wanting to buy for others and wanted that to still happen. After all, that was part of her wish........
I initially thought it would be somewhat joyful to be able to do this for Jess, but when we got to the mall it really hit me....I missed her tremendously and the part that hurt so much was knowing how much she would have enjoyed this. I felt shortchanged for myself and mostly for Jessi. Her favorite store is Aeropostale and the first time I walked in I had to walk right back out. Partly because that is the store we always went too.
We didn't get alot of shopping done that day, the nite before we came down and spent the nite with Christina (Ava's mom) and we went to the mall together and met Amber (Kayla's mom) at the mall also. We unfortunatly have one thing in common. Parents of kids with cancer who didn't make it. We consider ourselves unlucky enough to be members of "The Worst Club Ever". After the day at the mall we went to Cumming Ga to stay with Lily's family for the nite. Jennifer made my fav food (italian) and even got me a birthday cake for my birthday. We had a wonderful time with everyone. We all share and unspeakable bond that one can only know if you are unlucky enough in life to be thrust into the world of cancer.
On Thursday (my birthday) Bud and I went back to the mall to attempt to shop again. We managed to get everyone on Jessi's list. We also where going to but things for the Youth at our Church with what Kingdom Kids gave. We have managed to buy a Foosball Table, Basketballs, Footballs & Soccer balls. Theres a few more things but it isn't Christmas yet so I can't name them all. Our church dedicated the youth room to Jessi. Another amazing story. I will post some photos of that in the next few days along with the shopping pics and gifts.
So my purpose of writing this is to let you know that even though Jess is not with us physically, which pains me beyond anyones comprehension, she has carried out something that was on her heart. So buy her expressing her wishes so many people where blessed by that. Maybe this Christmas season, or throughout the next coming years and during your life you too can pay it forward, it's much better than receiving any kind of material gift, and you get the chance to help someone else which in return may just be you that gets the most help..........Just saying.............