Once Upon A Wish
$2,225 of $3,250 goal
Thank you to everyone who has donated to our campaign so far!! Updated goals are at the end.
On April 29, 2010, ten-year-old Jessica, was kicked in the head by a horse, sustaining a Severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). While she could have died multiple times during the first 24 hours after her accident, and while the doctors believed her accident would leave her severely impaired, the deficits she lives with, while greatly affecting her quality of life, are considered miraculous by many who have witnessed her recovery.
The doctors warned Jessica might be left blind, deaf, paralyzed on her left side, have seizures, and extreme mental deficits, but thankfully, many of these things have not come to pass. She can see and hear just fine, we are unaware of any seizure activity over the past seven years, BUT her TBI has left her with limited mobility, complex speech issues, fatigue issues, sensory processing issues, and Panic Disorder. Her TBI can present as a combination of Cerebral Palsy and Autism, with a lot of General Anxiety Disorder thrown in.
As you can imagine, this level of medical crisis has involved an extensive recovery. The past seven years have brought surgeries, medical bills, four moves (two of which were interstate), thousands of hours of therapy for our entire family, complex relationship issues, and ongoing financial issues. Our daily life has been and will continue to be affected for years to come.
This is where our request comes in. Due to the timing of Jessica’s accident and the intense medical intervention during the early years of her recovery, our family did not watch Once Upon A Time when it first aired. For the past seven years, we have been looking for something new to catch Jessica's interest, because she has seemed "stuck” on the things she was interested in at the time of the accident, mainly Percy Jackson (a solid books series but the movie franchise stalled out after the second movie came out in 2013).
Once Upon A Time to the rescue! We recently began watching the show on Netflix and she LOVES it! We would love to take her to the Once Upon A Time convention that is occurring in San Francisco, August 18 - 20, as we know she would love the opportunity to meet the stars of the show. We do, however, have concerns regading her ability to experience the convention on a "General Admission" basis.
While Jessica has worked tirelessly to regain function over the past seven years, "tirelessly" is a key word as standing in general admission lines for seating, autographs, or (most important to her) photographs would exhaust her to the point of not being able to fully enjoy the experience.
That is where you can help!
There are VIP packages available to this convention that include preferred seating, front-of-the-line access, and other perks that will help Jessica get the most out of the experience, without being overwhelmed by the busy-ness of such a convention.
Due to the many challenges we have faced over the years, and a recent interstate move, sending our entire family to the convention is cost-prohibitive. While Jessica's quality of life has been severely impacted by her accident (she is a completely different child than she was prior to her accident), she is not a terminal case, therefore even though we have been referred to Make-A-Wish twice, we have been denied both times.
If we had more lead time for this convention, we would be able to properly save for it, but given that the convention is just 7 weeks away and tickets are already on sale, we would like to ask for your help in making this wish come true for Jessica.
Our first goal is to give Jessica the Gold Package VIP Experience. If this is the only goal we meet, we can purchase a General Admission ticket for one of her parents, who will be able to accompany her as an attendant. - $439 - GOAL MET! Thank you! Please continue to share to help us reach the next level.
The second goal is to be able to purchase the lowest level VIP packages for both Jessica's parents and her sister. - $1184 - GOAL MET! Thank you! Please continue to share to help us reach the next level.
Our top goal is to be able to purchase the Gold Package VIP Experience for the entire family, enabling us to experience a true family vacation for the first time in seven years. - $1756 - GOAL MET! Thank you! Please continue to share, as we are "Go Fund Me amateurs" and did not appropriately account for fees and other expenses.
STRETCH GOAL: $2500
Having met our goal for the tickets for admission, we are still accepting donations to help with the cost of the fees associated with Go Fund Me, gas, food, hotel, and merchandise for the girls. THANK YOU for continuing to share our campaign. We appreciate you all.
Again, we have not been able to give Jessica this type of experience as Make-A-Wish has declined her referral twice. Due to her panic disorder, mobility issues, and sensory processing, it isn't often there is an experience such as this that she would both LIKE to attend and CAN handle physcially, mentally, and emotionally.
We appreciate any support you can give in granting Jessica's wish and giving her a fairy tale happy ending!
Thank you for your kind thoughts and support.
In case you have missed it, I wanted to let you all know about the Convention activity that occurred this weekend on my Facebook and Instagram.
On Instagram there are 20 shares, most of which have multiple pictures and/or videos to them. I will be taking down any pictures of the girls by Wednesday, August 23rd, because my Instagram is public.
On Facebook, there are 16 posts, including some videos that were taken "live" but are still available.
I will share some of the words from my final video:
I will be writing a recap for my website. There were a lot of parts that I didn't talk about in the videos or when sharing pictures. When the panelists were asked questions, a lot of their answers were very deep and thoughtful. The interactions between the cast were amazing. You could tell they love each other so much and they were there to make the convention a good time for everyone.
I am very, very grateful to everyone who helped make it possible for us to have this experience. Again, due to the short notice between us learning about the convention and the convention itself, there was no way we could properly save for it, given everything else we have been dealing with since our interstate move and house purchase happened a full eight months sooner than we were expecting it to.
I want to acknowledge Creation Entertainment, who hosted the convention. Their people were incredible! Professional and efficient, but also FUN and friendly and caring. Throughout the whole weekend, they would check in with how we were all doing and would be sure to get Jessica right into the line for Photographs and Autographs. I hung out with quite a few of them at the Karaoke party and they were full of energy and laughter.
Also, by the end of the weekend all of the other attendees and VIPs were friendly with one another and sending each other off with love and hugs and "See You Next Time"'s.
There was a very strong sense of community and everyone was very sweet and supportive to Jessica and helped her have a good time.
Jesse and I talked about it over the weekend and tried to remember the last time we went on a family vacation and over the weekend we had a hard time remembering when we had. Now that I've had some rest I can say that in 2011, we had a family vacation to Pajaro Dunes/Monterey with extended family for Jessica's birthday which was pretty good, we had minimal success with a trip to Oregon (that was mostly good as a family vacation, but was incredibly traumatic for me, personally), and we had a decent trip to Manchester Beach, as a camping test in the summer.
All of those trips weren't without their challenges and it has taken these six years to get to a point where we felt comfortable trying something like this again. The challenges that existed on those vacations were not present this weekend, and quite the opposite, Jessica handled stairs like a champ, a second floor room was "not that bad", according to her, and while waiting for the elevator at one point, she even craned her neck to kind of look over a balcony that was about five or six feet away, just to see how it was.
So, again, I can't properly express how grateful I am to everyone who supported us through this. All of your contributions helped us have our first family vacation in six years, and helped Jessica have an amazing "Wish-Like" experience.
Our lives are going to begin to change dramatically within the next 6-7 months. Jessica will turn 18 and there is a lot of paperwork and hard decisions that will be made at that point. Thank you for helping to give our family one last childhood experience with her.
Thank you for your monetary support, your loving support, and to everyone who has followed our journey, not just leading up to convention, and at convention this weekend, but especially to those who have been following our journey since April 29, 2010, when our lives changed forever.
Thank you thank you thank you. Over and over, again and again. Thank you for helping to make this happen.
Be sure to continue following our journey at www.facebook.com/vivalajessicacommunity as well as at my website www.jolenelavine.com.
Blessings and Gratitude Rising
Jolene Lavine for Team Lavine
I'll be closing the campaign in the morning. Look for photo updates from the weekend on my Instagram. Be sure to check early and often, as photos of the kids don't live too long on my public Instagram in order to protect their privacy.
Again, thank you to everyone who helped make this weekend possible! We are all so excited!
Blessings and gratitude,
The Lavine Family