Hello HOPE xo fam! So, I wanted to share with you about Jessie's Journey so far. Yesterday was quite the day of celebrating. We said c-ya to chemo! Jessie is my sister in law and was diagnosed with breast cancer in June of this year. She is an incredible person, mom and friend and this month being Breast Cancer Awareness Month we are honoring her and launching the HOPE xo Pink Collection- now available in the shop!
As you know HOPE xo has been on my heart for some time and at the beginning of summer I said, "lets go! It's time! I'm doing it!". June is the month when I was diagnosed with leukemia 17 years ago. I got to share my heart with Jessie and we were both excitedabout the launch. We talked about all that we would be doing and for what was to come. She's been my cheerleader and has come up with ideas to get going! Little did we know that the exact month we began to plan to bring hope to cancer fighters everywhere that she would be facing the fight herself. Not only was she going to be a part of the hope xo team but also a part of the mission of hope xo and one we would be sending just a little hope to throughout the next few months.
Jessie is a rock star mom and was breast feeding my cute little nephew and one day she felt a lump in her breast. She wasn't too worried about it and didn't even mention it to anyone for a couple of weeks. She told me, "I don't want to overreact, I am sure it's nothing". We talked about how it was probably her body adjusting after pregnancy(i mean all you moms know it does some pretty weird things after that- haha). She kept an eye on it and decided to have it checked out, just to be on the safe side. We were all hopeful it was just a milk gland or something, nothing to worry about. The doctor visit came and you may not know, but it is kind of a process. Examination, biopsy, tests, then a little bit of a waiting game for the results. Jessie was calm though. Not worried at all. She had her first initial appointment and then went back the next week for the report. We were all sitting back waiting for the news that day. I sent her a text letting her know I was praying for her and not long after she text me "HOPE XO ".....my heart sank into my chest because I knew exactly what she meant with that text message. With a chill running down my spine I wrote her back, "Hope xo jess it's all a part of the story i love you". I sat back and thought how crazy it was that the exact month I was diagnosed with Leukemia and the month we were going to begin the launchof hope xo was the month she got the news. We knew God was up to something. Something more to our story. It was time to fight. We are survivors and we aren't afraid to kick cancer's butt again!
Jessie began her journey at Emory Winship Cancer Institute in Atlanta with 8 rounds of chemotherapy. It wasn't until her 2nd treatment of chemo when her hair began to fall out and she had to shave it all. I remember getting the phone call while she was in Ohio and she said, "it's happening- it's falling out everywhere". She has been tough, she hasn't lost her faith and even in the sickest days, she has stayed strong with a smile. And did I mention she is beautiful bald?!
Yesterday was number 8! Which we like to say means "new beginnings". It was her last round and everyone knew it in that chemo hall. Pink balloons, flowers and way too many family members in the chemo room there to support her! (she is only allowed one person back at a time, so we kind of got kicked out but it was worth it :) ) There is this bell on the wall when you walk into the chemo room. The bell is a significant thing back there. It is for when a cancer patient is finished with their chemo treatments. They are able to go up and ring the bell - declaring the end of their treatment! It is something that each person back there looks forward to. 3 rings of celebration! (of course mark didn't know that when he rang it the first time walking by it hahaha)
The beeps went off on Jessie's IV station and finally 3 hours later, it was the sound of DONE! It was now time to ring that bell! We all got to go back and be a part of this special moment. Jessie was overflowing with happiness and cried tears of joy as she quoted the bell quote and rang it 3 loud times for everyone to hear- the sound of hope ringing through the halls! Everyone stood around and clapped for her and cried a lot. The nurses begged her to sing, but she decided not to and hugged everyone's necks and thanked them for everything they had done for her. Not 5 minutes later, we were walking to the elevator and all of sudden back to the chemo room Jessie went. She had changed her mind(with a little push from the fam) and was going back to sing for her nurses. The final encore! Now talk about water works. Everyone gathered around as she began to sing "Amazing Grace How Sweet The Sound". A special moment, a special day and now to turn the page on this chapter. (I put a video below of her singing - so enjoy!)
When I had leukemia I was treated at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta which is right across the street from Emory. Jessie and her brothers would walk the tunnel from Emory where her dad was being treated and come visit me. Today, I just sat there in between both buildings, looking to my left at Children's and to my right at Emory. It's crazy. A huge part of my life was there. The reason I started HOPE xo was there. Jessie was there. In that moment I just smiled, thanking God for life overwhelmed with emotion. From years ago to now being back there celebrating with Jessie was just kind of surreal and full circle moment. It's a hopeless place for so many and as long as I am around I plan to bring just a little hope its way. And as Jessie says, "once you choose HOPE anything is possible".
Keep her in your thoughts and prayers because next up is surgery and that boob is going to be better than ever!
Now go get you a pink tee in the shop to support all the breast cancer fighters out there and help us spread just a little hope.
Jessie singing Amazing Grace right after ringing the bell on her last chemo treatment.