Jessica was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at the age of eight years old. Over time she’s had multiple surgeries and half of her life from the age of 9 to 17 was spent at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).
Jessica was kind, thoughtful, loving and a generous person. She put others ahead of herself. Those that met her once never forgot her and those that had the good fortune of knowing her recognized her commitment, unconditional love and selflessness.
At the age of 23 Jessica made the decision to have surgery to remove most of her diseased small intestine and which resulted in a permanent ileostomy and “short gut syndrome”. After 12 months in the hospital Jessica was discharged and faced a new set of challenges.
Those that have children that live with an ostomy are aware of the challenges your child faces on a daily basis physically and emotionally. She wanted to fall in love, get married and have a family but had doubts that someone would accept her as a result of her condition. I assured her that she would find someone. In 2016 she met Scott and fell in love. I told her that anyone that accept you is someone special who respects you and loves you unconditionally.
Crohn’s disease affects your whole body from your head to your toes for your entire life. The disease is unrelenting and your immune system is compromised which results in side effects that never seem to go away. Jessica was always committed to helping others and Girls With Guts offers an opportunity to help others who are experiencing the physical and emotional trauma of living with IBD and an ostomy.
All donations given to Girls With Guts in memory of Jessica will be used to establish scholarships in her name to send young women with ostomies to future retreat. Girls With Guts retreats allow women from all over the country with Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis and ostomies to personally connect for a weekend of friendship, education, and empowerment.