Sunday, July 6, 2008

Fun with Jenny – Chapter 1: Stars, stripes and Jenny forever!

On National Jenny Day, aka the 4th of July, we kicked off our campaign to fulfill Jenny’s wish (“let’s just try to have some fun”) with a star-spangled cruise on San Francisco Bay. Family and friends gathered at the Berkeley Doubletree Hotel, where Jenny held court before boarding the Admiral Hornblower just after 7 p.m.

The first stretch of choppy water tested the skills of our seaworthy steward, who toted trays of hors d’oeuvres up and down the stairs linking the two decks without missing a step and poured red wine into teetering glasses without spilling a drop on the immaculate tablecloths. But, our competent captain soon brought the 60-foot-yacht into calm seas just off Treasure Island to reveal the evening’s well-kept surprise: a water-cannon salute to Jenny from a San Francisco fire boat, arranged by the Make-a-Wish Foundation. (No photo can fully capture the awestruck delight on Jenny’s face as she watched this extravaganza from the comfort of her Bay-view wheelchair seat on the yacht’s main deck, but we’ve posted one to give you a feel for what you missed.) Later that night, Jenny asked whether the Mayor of San Francisco gets similar salutes. We think she’s one up on Mayor Newsom!

The fun was by no means at an end. Jenny’s guests enjoyed delicious treats (including the world’s yummiest chocolate-covered strawberries) and spectacular views of the San Francisco skyline through sunset-tinged fog, followed by teasing glimpses of Oakland’s pyrotechnic display as our captain repositioned the Admiral Hornblower near the end of the Berkeley pier. Then, Jenny marveled as a succession of fireworks burst into brilliant color overhead, seemingly so close that one could reach through a window and catch a falling spark.

In typical Jenny fashion, however, she seemed to take just as much pleasure in being surrounded by the many loved ones who had traveled from near and far to take part in this special voyage. And that made this trip the memory of a lifetime – not only for Jenny, but for each and every one of us who had the privilege of sharing her joy.

Heartfelt thanks to all who contributed to the magic of National Jenny Day, including the Make-a-Wish Foundation, everyone involved at Hornblower Cruises and the staff of the Doubletree Hotel. You’ve set a high standard for the ongoing campaign to “have some fun.”


Jerry said...


I just read about you, and I want to send you my best wishes. In 1997 in Berkeley, I came down with Guillain Barre Syndrome. Thanks to a wonderful neurologist I (quite literally) stumbled across near Alta Bates I was able to make a complete recovery. But he caught my illness early, and I was much older than you. Since then, my doctors have told me not to get unneeded vaccinations, advise I wish they would tell everyone.

Because of my illness, I have not allowed my children to get gardasil vaccinations. And though I am a scientist and engineer, I wish more of our scientists, engineers, and MDs would remember, "First do no harm."

I wish you all the best.

Kristi @ Addicted*2*Decor said...

I just heard about your blog on the news. I am so sorry to hear what your family is dealing with. It's not right. It never should have happened.

Our government continues to turn a blind eye and claim no responsibility in this area. It's infuriating. Autism has reached epidemic numbers in this country, and yet the government tries to give us a false sense of security when it comes to vaccines.

I sincerely hope that this media attention to your family's situation will bring about some accountability....and change.

I will be following closely.

Jacqueline said...

Jenny, it is so fabulous to see your amazing smile!!! Your July 4th festivities were fit for royalty (appropriately, right?!) and how wonderful to have all of your family and loved ones around to bathe in that fun with you! You are not just 'talking' about having fun - you're HAVIN' FUN! you go girl!!!

Michal Ann said...

Hi Jenny,
Not sure you remember me, but gosh do I ever remember you! I am more than 3 times your age (lets not go into the details on how much older, as today is my birthday!). Anyway, in spite of my being old enough to be your mother, about a year ago, you actually rescued me at a party! I was the solo person with no one to talk to, and I suspect you spotted me looking all lonely and awkward, because you walked across the room and introduced yourself. Your amazing radiant smile, sparkly eyes and fun energy was such a welcome change from my sense of feeling out of place. (Being lonely in a crowd is the worst kind of lonely). I just recall how wonderful, bright, engaging and positive you were. Of course the news of your condition this year was so shocking and incomprehensible, as my memory of you is this teen girl with an electric joyful life force (sorry to sound new age-y). That said, seeing that same electric radiant smile I saw before in your July 4 photo really warmed my heart and made me smile, inside and out. I am praying for you today, and every day, (in Hebrew, which some believe is a favored language for prayers), and my birthday wish when I blow out candles later today will be that some sort of medical finding or spiritual miracle (or whatever it takes!!!) will solve this crappy situation. It is soooo not fair!!!! Still, to see that amazing smile or yours light up the photo made it obvious that “you” and your beautiful spirit are still there shining brighter than most will ever get to shine!!! Endless Love (and thanks forever for that social rescue!) Michal

Jacqueline said...

"a floating smile"... Jenny, I love this video and just had to share it with you. (it's short n sweet)

I was just thinkin' about ya and hope that today was one of the less challenging ones.

A* said...

Probably totally irrelevant, but this story reminded me of Jenny -

Melanie said...


What a special spirit you are! You can see it in your eyes and smile. I want to be of help you. really. I have learned something recently and hesitated to mention it, but I can't NOT bring it to your attention. anyway...

I am wondering if your parents have heard the news about a more recent discovery made by two scientists and I am wondering if it could help you, too? They discovered a natural botanical extract that supports wellness by helping your body maintain healthy stem cell physiology. This now patented concentrate derived from an aqua botanic plant has been shown to trigger a 25-30% increase in the number of circulating adult stem cells. (Approximatley 3-4 million more stem cells in circulation.)

If I may explain what this means to you...Your OWN adult stem cells are the God given renewal system of your body to restore, renew and rejuvenate. Science tells us adult stem cells are predominantly formed in the bone marrow and can become virtually any type of cell in the body which means they travel to an area in need of repair and become muscle cells, red blood cells brain cells, etc.

According to the National Institute of Health, adult stem cells have the remarkable potential to develop into many different cells types in the body. Studies have shown they do NOT become cancer cells. They can theoretically divide without limit to replenish other cells as long as a person is living.

When the adult stem cells divides it has the potential to remain a stem cell in the bone marrow or become another type of cell with a more specialized function such as a muscle cell, a red blood cell or a brain cell. When circulating adult stem cells find the heart in reduced health, they exit the bloodstream, migrate in the heart, multiply and actually become brand new heart muscle cells, analogous to the original cells that created the heart. The same happens with liver, kidneys, the brain, our skin, (for example when we get a cut) muscle cells, bones and connective tissue or any part of the body that is in need of restoration.

Anyway, if you or your parents would like more information, please have them email me as I do not want this to be an advertisement. I will supply all of you with the information necessary, to decide if this has the potential to be of help to you.

I will add you and your family to my prayers, as I know many are already doing.

With heart felt love and admiration