As many of you know, a little over a year ago we lost our sister Jenny to cancer. A mother of two young children, Hayley and Ryker, one of her final wishes was for her kids to continue knowing their mother's love even after she passed.
As Jen's big brother, I set up a fund to achieve that; to help cover expenses for defining milestones and special events the kids would have shared with their mom (such as birthdays, Driver's Ed., prom, homecoming, trips to Disneyland, etc.).
Today, I'm pleased to announce that after twelve months and 103 generous contributions later, we've reached our goal of raising $10,000 to benefit Jen's kids!
We could not have met our goal without the amazing support of our wonderful friends, family, co-workers, and even complete strangers, who were inspired by Jen's story, our desire to help fulfill one of her final wishes, and by a mother's desire to continue a legacy of love for her kids.
On behalf of Jen's immediate family and siblings, thank you all for your generosity! And above all, thank you for helping us make one of Jen's final wishes come true!
My little bother, Pat, wrote another BEAUTIFUL message about our sis, JEN:
JEN'S BIRTHDAY, MARCH 3
This time last year, many of us were with Jen at the Grange Hall in Stanwood. Surrounded with family and friends, Jen was smiley, upbeat, and giving hugs to everyone who walked in the door. The SHS band even showed up to play a few tunes and wish her well. It was hard to imagine there might be a time without her. When we couldn't talk with her. Laugh and joke with her. Tell her about some drama, big or small, in our lives.
But five short months later, we abruptly said goodbye. Jen passed before any of us were even remotely ready to let her go. Before she got to see her kids grow up. Before she could teach Hayley how to drive, or send Ryker off to kindergarten. Those milestones, like Jen's birthday, now fall on us to get through together. To remember. To celebrate. To honor her memory and keep it alive.
Towards that end, we are incredibly grateful to the nearly 97 people who've helped us get to 93% of our goal of raising $10,000 for Jen's kids, Hayley and Ryker. Wouldn't it be a great way to mark Jen's birthday, by getting to 100% today? Help us reach our goal, by contributing here: http://www.gofundme.com/please-help-jens-kids
I'll close with something Christopher Robin once said to Winnie the Pooh:
"If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together, there is something you must always remember: you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart, I'll always be with you."
As many of you already know, January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. Please spread the word and maybe we can help others. This meant a lot to Jen. So, let's keep her memory alive and make more people aware.
This was so nicely written by my little brother, Patrick:
KEEPING JEN'S MEMORY ALIVE
As the holidays draw near, our hearts are heavy with remembrances of Jen's loving, cheerful and generous spirit.
For Jen, the holidays connected her to fond memories of childhood. The exchange of gifts, arts, crafts, decorations, baking and shopping. She always pulled out all the stops. Even when it meant scrimping in other areas.
The holiday season brought out a child-like wonder in Jen. But, at her last Christmas with the family, there was a deep awareness it could very well be her last.
There were tears, some free flowing, but not all of sorrow. There was a sense of miraculous joy in Jen's heart. Spending time with the young family she was proud of nurturing. Laughing with the family about the good times, many long passed.
This holiday season without her has already been difficult. If grief is a mountain to summit, many of us are still struggling to get traction at the base. Or, are still getting caught in the occasional avalanche. However, we can't help but feel lifted up by the immense love we have felt from Jen's extended family, friends, and all those she touched through her work (some of whom are complete strangers to us).
Help keep Jen's memory alive this holiday season by sharing a story of times you spent together! And if you are able, please join the nearly 100 generous friends and family who have contributed to Hayley and Ryker's future fund:
My sister Jen Bell-Burgess recently passed away after a courageous year-and-a-half battle with a rare and aggressive form of cancer.
One of her final wishes was to ensure her two beautiful children would continue to know and feel her love at defining points of their lives (milestones like: Sweet 16, learning to drive, senior prom, college graduation, etc).
As Jen's big brother, I'll be in charge of these finances. This fund will be used to help underwrite Certificates of Deposit and other secure investments to ensure Jen's wishes for her kids can be realized.
Here are a few videos better explaining her cancer journey:
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