A passionate dancer with a big heart for sick kids
"I see how sick some of the kids are and the pain they are in and know how something small can help to put a smile on their face."
Jess has been a passionate dancer for 11 years, and though she had a rough start, she is grateful every day that her health doesn’t prevent her from living her dreams. Diagnosed with a genetic disease called NF1 when she was just one year old, Jess is no stranger to the inside of a Starlight Express Room.
Jess' condition means that she is susceptible to tumours growing on her nerve endings, and even had to have surgery when she was only two years old. She now lives with frequent trips to the hospital for MRIs and oncology visits to ensure her condition has not worsened, and ophthalmology check-ups to ensure her eyesight isn’t affected by the tumours wrapped around her optic nerve.
During her time in hospital as a young child Jess looked forward to her Starlight experiences in between appointments. Fourteen years later and grateful for her own stable health, Jess empathises with the struggle of other sick kids in hospital: "Some days their appointments may be long and scary for them, and through their treatment they may be feeling very sick and tired. For some kids they don't get to experience what normal children do and I think it is so great that Starlight is there for them."
Jess came across Starlight's Sugar Free Me Challenge and decided to take it on, with her mum Narelle. They saw the challenge as both an opportunity to support Starlight, and to kick start a healthy lifestyle for themselves. To reach their fundraising goal, Narelle and Jess have been sharing their stories and experiences on social media and asking friends and family to donate. They also held a 'Beautiful You High Tea' through Narelle's business, with a guest speaker sharing sugar free treats, an artist donated a beautiful painting to raffle off, and Jess shared her own journey and reasons for doing the challenge.
Jess' top fundraising tip: don't be shy to share your story.
If you'd like to support Narelle and Jess, you can donate to their Sugar Free Me fundraising page.
Does Jess' story inspire you to help sick kids experience a bit of fun There are loads of ways that you can fundraise to support Starlight.
More Starlight Stories
Discover the many ways Starlight and our supporters help light up a sick child’s life