by Ally from Victoria
"I am a bit like a penny, by myself, I am not worth much, But with a little help and lots of pennies, you can achieve a lot. Every penny counts and even the smallest person can make a difference."
|Taken by Adrian Lam, Times Columnist |
Jeneece is an incredible hero who has done many amazing deeds to help others. Jeneece was born in 1994 on January 20th. When she was only 3 years old she was diagnosed with a terrible disease called Type 1 Neurofibromatosis. Neurofibromatosis causes tumors to grow in nerve
pathways all over the body. People who have Neurofibromatosis Type 1 or NF1 may have very few neurofibromas or they may have thousands of them throughout their body. NF1 has many devastating side effects including a weak and unsupportive vertebra. Jeneece would frequently
fall down the stairs and sometimes would be unable to move because of the extreme pain that comes with this disease.
At the age of only 5 Jeneece had to have surgery on her spine to correct its curvature. Screws and a rod were inserted to stabilize her spine. The first time she sat up after the surgery two screws pierced right through her vertebra into the spinal canal. She had to have another operation 3 weeks later. After the surgery doctors believed that she would never walk again, but thankfully they were wrong. Her surgeon cried the day she ran into his office wrapped her tiny arms around him and said to him, "thanks for letting me walk "....again"
At the age of 7 Jeneece wanted to give back to the children's charity that was helping her with medical costs. She started a penny drive at her elementary school and earned 164 dollars but she wasn't very happy with that. So the next year she decided to do it again but to get help from a local news anchor. The news anchor announced that Jeneece would be doing a penny drive and the money came rolling in! She collected $27,000 dollars! Jeneece wasn't close to done; she started fundraising for the BC Neurofibromatosis Foundation, Shawinigan Lake Camp, Camp Goodtime, Cops for Cancer and Tour de Rock. Along with all the fundraising she has done she has also become a spokesperson for Tour de Rock.
Jeneece's biggest dream came true when she raised 5.5 million dollars to build a 'home away from home' for families who have to travel to Victoria BC to have medical care. The house has 10 bedrooms each with its own bathroom, television, and telephone. Families from all over were thankful for Jeenece's hard work and dedication to helping make Jeenece Place possible.
Jeneece has courage, compassion, and strength, and because of this she has inspired numerous people to raise money and help out in their community. Jeneece is now 18 and she is still raising money. Unfortunately doctors said she needed yet another surgery that could leave her paralyzed. When she got a second opinion the doctors thankfully said she didn't need the surgery until later in her life. When Jeneece thought she needed the surgery people all over started to raise money for her. Jeneece is overjoyed that she doesn't need the surgery. Jeneece is an incredible hero who has motivated many people and Is an amazing role model for me to look up to.