A classmate of mine by the name of Jessica Bongiovanni passed away last night after battling osteosarcoma. I hadn’t talked to Jessica in years and admittedly, during the time we shared in high school, I was closer to her younger sister, Kelsey. Jessica was an athlete and a scholar, and both attributes followed her to college and beyond. Not only was she smart and talented, but she was a natural-born leader and incredibly supportive and fiercely loyal to those she loved. I, however, pay these compliments without any intimate knowledge of Jessica and her relationships. I remain confident in these statements based on the writings of others and on the writings of Jessica herself.
As she waged her brave battle against osteosarcoma, Jessica updated a blog. She kept it on WordPress.com (http://jessicabongiovanni.wordpress.com/), and without fail, each entry was honest and written with a subtle optimism and quiet kind of strength. Despite losing a leg and going through lung surgery and postponing a wedding, Jessica never really put her life on hold. What’s more is that Jessica never ever wasted a single second. Even when the knowledge that her seconds were numbered could have oppressed her, Jessica rose above it and faced it. She took it for what it was, faced it with a smile, and carried on. Jessica’s honesty and her bravery have inspired many and I am proud to include myself in that number.
To be honest, I was apprehensive about dedicating a post to Jessica because I did not know her that well. But I hope my doing so inspires someone else the way Jessica inspired me. She wanted her story to be shared and wanted to help others. Jessica was an amazing individual and her passing is untimely and tragic. There is nothing I can write and nothing I can do to ease the pain of those who knew and loved her and will certainly mourn her. I do hope that those grieving can take solace in the fact that in the short amount of time she had, just twenty-five years, Jessica really did impact lives, some of which belonged to total strangers perusing blogs on the internet. I know that she has touched and inspired me, and I vow not to let a single second of my life pass by where I am not incredibly grateful, filled with love, and taking advantage of all opportunities.
Thank you, Jessica. You are loved and you will be missed.