When Kait and I first started taking our dogs on therapy visits, we started at the Ronald McDonald House here in Louisville. Jessie was one of the first people we met and bonded with. Along with her ever-supportive parents, Robin and Scott, 19-year old Jessie was staying in Louisville – over 2 hours from her home in Ohio county – while she battled through her second diagnosis of Hodgkins Lymphoma.
Every week when we visited, we could count on seeing Jessie and Robin in the common room, eagerly waiting for Max and Grace. Robin would sit on the floor, loving on the dogs while she told us about the latest round of chemo therapy that Jessie struggled through, and the problems they have had trying to get their home fixed up for her eventual return. We could see how hard she worked to stay positive and cope with all of the hardships thrown at her family, as she pet and groomed and massaged Max and Grace. The way she pet the dogs, it was like she was physically working all of the stress out of her body – and the dogs soaked it up, exhausted but content by the time she was through.
Despite everything she has fought through, Jessie is an unrelentingly positive person. She exudes love and friendship, and her positive attitude shines through even on her darkest days of sickness. Even when she found out that she needed a bone marrow transplant, followed by a minimum of six months of isolated recovery at home, she never stopped smiling. Every week during our visits, her smile beamed as she told us about her family and friends, her treatments at Kosair children’s hospital, and her plans for the future. When she is recovered and able to return to school, she plans to continue working toward a degree in early childhood education.
Last week, Jessie finally got to go back home. After her transplant – which wiped out her immune system and left her vulnerable to every little bit of germ and disease – she recovered very quickly and this week she was given the go-ahead to move home to begin her extended recovery. Robin called me yesterday and invited us to come over for a little going home party. Of course, we brought Max and Grace along for moral support. We will continue to visit RMH every Tuesday as we have for months to offer support to other families dealing with medical challenges. Jessie said she will try to meet with us here and there when she is in town for her regular checkups.
Jessie, from the bottom of our hearts we wish you and your family the best of luck in your recovery. With your positive attitude and kind heart, you will go far. Keep in touch – Max and Grace will miss you (and we will, too.)
Check out Jessie’s Facebook page for more info on her recovery: Joy for Jessie