Updated posted by Simon Nicholson 18 days ago
As most of you would know, Jess sadly lost her brave battle against cancer last weekend. It has been truly heart breaking for everyone that knew Jess, but the beautiful memories of Jess have shone through all of this and her life has been celebrated with so much love and respect over the past week. Throughout the hardest time of their young lives, Simon and Jess have inspired so many people around the world with their story of true love, dedication and absolute bravery. Simon summed it up beautifully with this message:
"I said goodbye to my soul mate this morning. I promised her I will raise our beautiful kids in way that makes her proud. So lucky to have shared 17 years with you my angel. What an adventure. I promise I will come find you. Thank you to everybody who supported us in the last year. We lived and and have no regrets."
The support for this family has been overwhelming - quite unbelievable. And in time, Simon will no doubt have an opportunity to thank you all. Friends of Jess extends one last request to everyone to make one last pledge to help Simon, Joel and Anna get back on their feet and face the next chapter of their lives. We have numerous fundraising initiatives in place to assist with the outstanding medical bills and related expenses to the tune of R250 000 ($25 000). This is the last thing we want Simon and the family to deal with now.
Please open your hearts and assist in any way possible. A little bit from a lot of people makes an enormous difference.
We will leave you with some profound words from Jess... so many life lessons she has taught us!
"don't feel sorry for me, the only certain thing in life is death, and this is in a very strange way a blessing as I get to feel what it is like to truly live each day as if it were my last. We never know when we will die, but I know that I will die sooner than some and so I get to feel what it is like to let go of all the stupid things that usually worry us humans and that is somehow liberating. Live your life, as life is a blessing!" - Jessica Nicholson
Updated posted by Simon Nicholson 1 month ago
Jess looks like she will be released from hospital tomorrow, and i will post an update shortly on how she is doing. In the meantime, the awesome Friends of Jess fundraising initiative has kicked off this weekend with a raffle on the Gold Coast, Australia.
World champ, and incredibly cool human Mick Fanning has put up an epic prize pack worth $2200. This one is for the ozzies but there is a huge international one coming soon. There are some serious once in a lifetime opportunities to be won.
You can follow all the updates and keep up to date by liking the Facebook page - www.facebook.com/friendsofjess and also through Instagram @friendsofjess
There is lots coming up, so stay tuned.
Updated posted by Simon Nicholson 1 month ago
for some reason only half my post loaded... here is part 2
I went home broken, exhausted from three nights of no sleep and the unspoken fate that seemed to shortly await us. All that said, I think both Debbie and I were so relieved to have the care of our girl in professional hands, sleep came quick and easy.
Early on Monday I arrived at the hospital with my mom (she had flown in the day before to look after the kids), Jess was sleeping, but I was unable to wake her, the nurse asked if I had given her sleeping tablets… of course I hadn’t, we tried for 20 minutes but had no luck. I figured she was in a coma. Roller coaster is now in freefall and people are vomiting.
We left the hospital to drop the kids at school, and when I returned 30 minutes later, there the cheeky thing was… sitting up eating breakfast! She said “hello babe!”
I nearly fell over.
Jess had recovered nicely from the previous day’s drama, she was talking without any real issues, still confused about things, but looking like a million bucks! The roller coaster… going up!
We hopped in an ambulance and made the journey 40 minutes to Westville hospital for an MRI, this was the scan that we had all been waiting 2 months for, but now none of us wanted the results to. Jess was restless and not able to stay still so they asked me to stand in the room and hold her still, I noticed she had earplugs but didn’t think to ask about that… until the machine started, it nearly blew out my ears drums!
As we rode in the ambulance back, Jess lay there, asleep, her face looking vaguely familiar, my doubts were doubling up on themselves and I feared the worst for the scan results, considering how bad things were, logically the scan wasn’t going to be good.
There wasn’t long to wait, Dr Nad Govender, Jess’s neuro surgeon arrived after a few hours, he grabbed the disk, popped it into the computer, turned and looked at me and said..
“This tumour has gotten smaller”
It’s hard to write those words without tearing up. But when he said them. I stood there stunned like no one has ever been stunned before. Debbie burst into tears, and I looked at her and tried to process what he was saying? It felt so strange, like an alternate reality had just intercepted mine and I was stuck in the transition…
Guardedly optimistic, was the expression he used. But considering that in 3 months from Oct-Dec those tumors had grown from a clear scan to that size, and a further 3 months down the line the tumor’s were “less enhanced”. This was a very f*ing good result! The tumor was not growing and had reduced in certain areas… are you kidding with me, I was expecting half her brain to be covered. Roller coaster soaring through the sky!
It’s silly to get too excited, Jess is still in a bad way, she still cannot talk much, still in ICU, but its only been 48 hours, to repair a good week’s worth of damage. It will take time. Her physio session this afternoon revealed serious mis-firing neurons, and physical rehab will be part of the recovery process. Her platelets are still radically low, so we hope to see these improve too.
Considering the aggressive nature of her tumor and the lack of growth over the past 2 and half months, all signs point toward Dr Bruzynski being the real deal. His unorthodox cocktail of medication is working. Your money was well spent, and Jess still here.
So where to now.
Well Jess has sometime before she can come home, she needs to regain her strength, I want her here in professional care as long as that takes.
We continue on her treatment, with renewed hope and conviction that we are going in the right direction. We beg borrow and steal every cent we can so she can keep popping those pills until the day she is clear of this disease.
I need to thank some people, there are so many who deserve public praise but only a few I can actually manage in this post.
My brother and my old mates from the WQS days, Pete (I owe this man a lifetime of service) has been working on another fundraiser for Jess with the help of Mick Fanning, Travis Logie, Ace Buchan, Ian Walsh and ASP that will launch soon, It brought me to tears when Pete told me of his behind the scenes planning and the eager response from these guys. Look out for it soon, from what I hear, the prizes are once in a lifetime opportunities… not available over the counter. Thanks boys, anything you ever need from me, I’m there. Matt Bromley, this kid! Rides the heaviest barrel of the winter at Pipe, wins R11, 000 and gives it to my wife? If there is karma, the good stuff is coming for you bromdog. Sophie! Despite not knowing us, she supported the Cape Town fundraiser (she bought Jordy’s board) and offered to assist by bringing Jess’s meds through from USA. Billabong and Vangie for the raffle they set up and The Natural Energy team who made a crazy donation. Jess Sumner, who donated her birthday money and organized a sexy girls car wash, which raised R30k! My old friends, Lee-Anne Smith and Justin Saunders, from Eco Swell lodge in Transkei for their raffle that raised 15k! Robbie Schofield and Archie for their assistance with travel plans… I’ll leave it at that…haha. Mike Schelbach, Chad d Arcy, and so many others who have put their hand up, without hesitation.
Big thanks to my close friends, for supporting me, letting me vent, listening to my stories, looking after my kids, cooking me dinner, buying me beer, visiting Jess, giving me the day off work, you guys are special humans.
Every single person who has shared our story, donated a single cent, thank you. It’s working, its not in vain. We are making headway against this monster.
Created by Simon Nicholson on February 18, 2013
It's been almost a year since Jess was diagnosed with brain cancer. It's been an extremely challenging 10 months but Jess has shown bravery beyond words. We are now fighting the re-growth and a new tumour that has occurred.
Those of you who have donated already will notice we have increased the total significantly, that is due to the new treatment plan which will cost us $20,000 a month (R200,000 per month!) It's a radical treatment plan with great scientific results but no clinical trials. We simply don't have time to wait for this treatment to be comprehensively tested. Jess is the trial. Every single cent donated counts. Every share of our story counts. However you can help us, is appreciated.
In my lifetime I have been challenged with a few frightening situations. Like being caught inside at 15 foot Pipeline, like being hijacked with shots fired, armed robbers breaking into my house, being held up at knife point in the street.
Nothing comes close to the terrifying sight I saw on Saturday the 9th of February 2013 when my wife and soul mate, Jessica, suffered a massive seizure out of the blue. The timeline of events that followed has left me here ... Sitting next a hospital bed in neuro ICU eight days later, while Jess recovers from brain surgery.
Turns out she had a brain tumor... And because it was on the dominant left hand side of the brain, it ruptured, causing the seizure, causing us to rush her to hospital and have a CT scan. That seizure it turns out, saved her life. The tumor, a grade 4 glioblastoma, would have quadrupled in the following months, and left me without my best friend, and a mother for our most beautiful special kids.
I thought I had life all figured out, had the t's crossed and the i's dotted.
My first mistake was that I have taken this incredibly special family for granted. I can do better, I want to do better.
My second is that I underestimated the value of having complete health security for my family. I have medical aid, but it's not comprehensive, and as it so happens there is a shortfall.
Furthermore Jess is an incredibly driven, motivated, self employed fashion designer. Unfortunately the tumor was highly malignant, which means she is heading into a few years worth of Chemo and radiation starting immediately. That means life must change for us. Jess needs to focus all her strength into fighting this cancer, and that means we need help, and despite my pride and being brought up to stand on my own two feet, I want my wife to be around more than any of that.
So this is me asking for help, to cover the shortfall , to build a support structure, so Jess can get the care she needs, and keep our family together.
Have Questions? Contact the organizer of this campaign now:Contact
Use Facebook to Leave a Comment
Nothing gets posted to your wall. Only your Facebook name & photo are used.
Just a thought: Steven Saad a Durban boy owns? Aspen Pharmaceuticals. Maybe he could organise to donate ,and if not, donate, perhaps supply some of the drugs at cost?
posted by Kevin Pitout 1 month ago
Dear Simon and Jess, our family have been through this exact trauma for 16 years with a close member having been operated on 6 times.Unfortunately we came across an Australian surgeon too late however not to late in your case and therefore suggest you get in touch with him as he is believed to be the best in the world.His name is Dr. Charlie Teo, please google him and send him the scans for his input.I will share another bit of news on him I received yesterday via FB.All the very best to you guys.
posted by Mark Snowball 1 month ago
Simon I really admire how much you love your wife and family u doing so well . You and your wife are in my thoughts and prayers bro..
posted by Manfred Adrio 1 month ago
Jess & Simon, my prayers and thoughts are with you! Having gone through the same thing with my 15yr old son, I know what you are going through. Stay strong, and never give up! Carl.
posted by Carl Dentry 3 months ago
Jess you are so brave and strong. Simon your incredible love and support for Jess is beautiful. You both have touched peoples hearts and I hope that the treatment you seek works and that you receive the funding you require through your families, your friends and their friends and let the circle of generosity grow widely for you. Sending you both love and to let you know your courage will become motivation for others.
posted by Sadie Steer 3 months ago
Hi Jess & Simon, Wow, how strong you both have been! I know how difficult this period is as cancer is like a roller coaster ride. It feels like yesterday that I went through the same with with my daughter Charise. The only comfort that I got, was to go my knees and pray, and accept that All Mighty Gods will be done. You guys are in our prayers constantly.
posted by Reg Hochstadter 4 months ago
Dear Jess & Simon, today I just happened to go onto a clothing website which took me to another site and another and another until l I landed up here ... I am so sorry to hear all the news and the tough times which you and your family have been going through. Wishing and sending such a lovely couple loads of love and light and strength and may you and your family be on the road to recovery in no time .. Annick (ex YDE) xx
posted by Annick Folland-Doyle 6 months ago
Hi there . I've just stumbled on your page and I am so sorry to hear of our battle with this disease . I'm a mother of a sarcoma survivor and now a widow for 8 months from Sarcoma.. Yes 2 in one family with cancer .. It sucks ... You fight everyday to keep your loved ones close by ....and do anything I'm going o I've ou a link that ou may have already seen,I hope you get to watch it as this is really all about the cancer ( brain) you are living with ...http://articles.mercola.com /sites/articles/archive/2013/0 7/13/burzynski-cancer-film.asp x One day hopefully it won't be this hard,,, I wish you all the best with your treatments .. Big hug Leigh
posted by Leigh Webb 9 months ago
Hi guys, I don't you but have heard so very much from mutual friends as we live in Seals. Thanks for writing about your journey. I am currently dancing with a grade 4 breast cancer which has spread into my lymph's. I'm not currently in a position to donate anything to your cause, but when i can, I will. With no medical aid myself, I understand the pressures! I wish there was something I could do for your family but we will think of you often and send those healing vibes! Take care x Taryn
posted by Taryn Roper Kneen 9 months ago
I am at work and it is Lunchtime have taken a few moments out to read this and now I have tears streaming down my face. I salute you both, you have my deepest admiration and respect. My daughter pointed me to your blog and I will get others to follow, I wish there was more I could do for you, but i will do my best to make others aware of your plight. I look forward to your next post. My thoughts are with you. Diana
posted by Diana Swan 12 months ago
Oh Simon, you have me in tears with every update, either tears of sadness or tears of joy...today they tears for your amazing strong spirit, and the love you have for your wife... Today's post has so much truth in it, when you focus on someone else your problems just get seen in a whole different perspective.and you notice the good things more than the bad.I think as you go forth in this battle you are going to see incredible victories along the way..in all areas of your lives... be brave, stay strong and come out the other side champions.. Xx
posted by Caryn Bricknell 13 months ago
Stay strong & positive Jess X
posted by Bron Jones 13 months ago
Thinking of you Jess and Simon... Life tends to throw us all these incredible challenges. You are strong, you can beat this. Please phone if there's anyway I can help. Lots of love. Michelle
posted by Michelle Hansel 13 months ago
Dear Jess and Simon, I don't have money at the moment to give, but my friends and I have a lot of love to offer. We would love to come pray with you and trust Jesus for healing and fullness of health. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like us to come visit, please let me know. Keep strong, keep smiling and enjoy the love. God bless you and your family, Michael
posted by Michael Wright 13 months ago
Dear Jess and Simo Thank-you for sharing your story, it is a gift to see life through your eyes, to be reminded how Precious Life is and how few of us truly LIVE life the way we want too. We are all frantic tourists, rushing through all those special moments, spending so much time wishing and not doing. Keep smiling.
posted by Surfshack Cape Town 13 months ago
Hi Simon, have only met you once, but know a bunch of your mates here in Ballito. Christ Church North Coast sends its Prayers. regards Rat Adjes
posted by Michel Adjes 14 months ago
Simon you are the husband I think every woman wants and most guys would want to be. Good luck to you both and all my thoughts.
posted by Damian Carte 14 months ago
Recent Donations (797)
$79,243 raised by 797 people in 14 months.
5 days ago
Jessica Van Der Waal
8 days ago
10 days ago
10 days ago
11 days ago
12 days ago
12 days ago
13 days ago
14 days ago
14 days ago
1-10 of 797 donationsNext