Happy Holidays, consider making someone else's holiday brighter.


Jessica is eight year’s old. She is from Cork, Ireland where she lives with her parents, her sister and two brothers. Jessica is a carefree kid. Her neighbors are used to seeing her skipping down the street singing at the top her voice. Jessica tried Irish dancing but prefers disco dancing, her favorite color is pink, she says that blue is for boys and she loves nothing better than to curl up with a book.


Jessica suffered third degree burns on 18% of her body on Easter Sunday of this year when her Easter dress caught fire while at a friend’s house. Jessica was rushed to a hospital in Cork and then transported to a hospital in Dublin where she remained for 10 weeks and she became increasingly ill.


Jessica’s family in Ireland and oversees were very worried about her. Jessica’s family on Martha’s Vineyard heard about Shriners Hospital in Boston and called to find out if they would help. The response was very positive. They could help her and they cover the cost of the care but the family would have to pay for her med flight to Boston. The cost was $55,000. Since the family felt that they should act right away, a family friend on the Vineyard paid for the flight immediately. Jessica’s family is fundraising to pay this amount back.


When Jessica was first in hospital, Gina Burns, put a letter to the editor in the Vineyard Gazette asking people to send cards to Jessica. By the time Jessica left Dublin she had received more than 100 cards and many gifts. A couple of stories about Jessica appeared in the Vineyard Gazette and one in the Irish Voice since and the outpouring of support has been wonderful. Jessica’s thirteen year old cousin, Gillian, decided to help by selling roses at the local street fair. Gillian, her brother Liam and their cousins, Finn and Ellie raised $1260 for Jessica. Gina Burns designed a bracelet that the kids have sold at various events this summer to add to her fund. When there was a glitch in getting her to Boston, Senator Edward Kennedy’s office called to offer help. A man on his way to the Vineyard for the fourth of July weekend read Jessica’s story in the Vineyard Gazette and called and offered to help with her transportation home which he did by taking care of the cost to fly Jessica and her parents back to Ireland. Jessica has not only received support from abroad but at home also. Friends, relatives and neighbors sent her many cards and gifts. Each and every one of her immediate family has helped in many ways. On the day of her first surgery in Dublin, her entire school stopped and prayed for her at noon.


Jessica has responded very well to the care at Shriners Hospital. She was able to return to Ireland where her recovery will continue for quite some time. She is really thrilled to be home as she missed her family and friends. Her parents are glad to be home also as one of them spent the entire twenty weeks of Jessica’s hospitalization with her while their other three children remained in Ireland. Jessica is a unique kid, has a great spirit and her courage is an inspiration to all who are blessed to know her.


Although the family has raised some money there is still a long way to go and the family intend to continue fundraising as long as necessary.


Tax-deductible contributions can be made to The Jessie Fund c/o Martha’s Vineyard Cooperative Bank, P.O. Box 668 Vineyard Haven, Mass. 02568.

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