Sherri Shanahan holds baby Jesse in the hospital with baby’s father

Nanaimo parents hope baby’s legacy helps others

NANAIMO – Fundraiser helps pay for baby monitor at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

Organizers of the Jesse’s Gift fundraiser know exactly what they will do with money raised in memory of Jesse Darlene Shanahan – buy equipment for the neonatal intensive care unit of the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

Born nine weeks premature at two pounds, 12 ounces, Jesse died at just six weeks old. She leaves behind parents Sherri and Mike and older sister Marlee. Her death was sudden and unexpected.

“She was amazingly beautiful,” her mother said. “She never cried and had a special spark about her.”

Though the loss of a beautiful little baby is heart wrenching, Jesse isn’t moving on without leaving a legacy.

For the first five weeks and four days of her life, Jesse spent her time between the Nanaimo and Victoria NICUs. While in Victoria, her parents stayed at Jeneece Place, a residence for parents traveling to Victoria for their child’s medical care. Their 10-day stay left a lasting impression on Jesse’s mother.

“I was amazed that one girl, Jeneece Edroff, could accomplish such an amazing feat in fundraising and decided if she could, we could, too,” said Shanahan.

A nurse herself in the emergency department of NRGH, Shanahan understands the constant and ever-evolving need for equipment, so in Jesse’s name started raising money to purchase a central monitor, a piece of equipment that will provide nurses with another tool for monitoring infants.

“We received an incredible level of care at the NICU in Nanaimo and wanted to show how grateful we were,” said Shanahan. “The monitor will allow nurses to check in with each baby even when they are tending another infant.”

The cost of the machine is a hefty $60,000.

“When I heard the price tag my heart sank,” said Shanahan. “But I got a real boost when the Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation said they would kick in half of the cost up to $30,000.”

The Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation, which fundraises to buy added equipment at the hospital, wanted to help after seeing the family’s strength, resilience and determination.

The NICU at NRGH draws infants from all over Vancouver Island and the unit is 80-per cent full or more at all times.

To date Jesse’s Gift has raised more than $13,500, with $6,000 of it coming from her celebration of life service. Shanahan said it’s helped to have an account set up at the three local Scotiabanks in Jesse’s name but that social media has played a major role in helping grow her daughter’s legacy.

“We have a fundrazr.com account that’s raised over $5,000 and our Facebook page, Jesse’s Gift, has attracted more than 250 likes. People from as far away as the States are giving,” said Shanahan. “Some anonymously while others share their reasons.”

She added that the stories behind why people are donating vary but all have a common theme – one that she and her family firmly believe.

“What’s important in life is helping others,” she said. “It isn’t about stuff we accumulate, it’s about making life better for others.”

Jesse’s older sister, four-year-old, Marlee, is getting that lesson too. “She’s learning how important giving back is and is excited about turning over the big cheque.”

Jesse’s legacy is a message of paying it forward her parents hope will continue, even after the monitor is purchased.

To donate to Jesse’s Gift, visit any Scotiabank location in Nanaimo or visit https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/2XMjf. The Facebook page is www.facebook.com/jessesgift.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo cat with a disability can still teach foster kittens ‘how to cat’

Life goes from sour to sweet for Lemon, an adopted cat from B.C. SPCA Nanaimo

Protesters in Nanaimo call for greater protection of old-growth forests

Extinction Rebellion organized rally at Maffeo Sutton Park on Saturday afternoon

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Nanaimo River Road ‘hotspot’ for theft from vehicles, says RCMP

Over dozen reports of theft in past month, say Nanaimo RCMP, many victims were headed to backcountry

Process begins to try to get Lantzville lookout trail authorized

Regional District of Nanaimo staff will report back to parks and trails committee

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Missing teen visiting Courtenay found safe

She had last been seen going for a walk on Aug. 6

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Island Health warning of spike in overdoses in Nanaimo area

Substance users advised to visit overdose prevention site on Wesley Street in Nanaimo

Do-over vote has similar result, 280-unit development in Lantzville going to public hearing

Mayor’s motion to rescind Clark/Medd application’s second reading fails 3-2

B.C. wildfire crews have battled 111 blazes in the last seven days

Twenty-nine fires remain active, as of Friday (Aug 7)

Fitness non-profit challenges citizens to invent a game to be physically active

The campaign was launched after a study showed only 4.8 per cent of children and youths in Canada met required standards of the 24-hour movement guidelines

Cowichan RCMP use spike belts to end car chase — man in custody

The driver was arrested at the scene a short distance from his vehicle

Most Read