As Jordyn was about to leave behind the immaturity of seventh-grade and embark on the world of maturity and excitement that is typically provided by eighth grade, a life altering event changed her forever. On one average May afternoon in 2017, Jordyn’s mother found that their dog, Kobe, had eaten her glasses, an action that was unusual for his well-behaved manner. Upon finding the shattered glasses, Jordyn and her mother tried to replace them, however, her eye-doctor mentioned that Jordyn needed to come in for a visit in order for her to get new glasses, as she was one week over her yearly-visit. When Jordyn and her father arrived at the eye doctor, nothing seemed out of the ordinary, although this appointment was anything but ordinary, life changing in fact. When Jordyn went back with the doctor to have her visual field checked, the doctor noticed that she was not passing any of the tests that pertained to the peripheral vision of her lower left eye, suggesting that she had no peripheral vision in that quadrant at all. The doctor recommended that Jordyn be seen by a neuro-opthamologist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
After meeting with the neuro-opthamologist at CHOP, the consensus was that nothing could be wrong with Jordyn neurologically, as the vision loss was only seen in one eye. However, for precautionary purposes, the neuro-opthamologist ordered an MRI to be safe. After the MRI, Jordyn stayed over at a friend’s house. However, when Jordyn woke up the next morning, she noticed that she had missed calls and messages from her mother. Jordyn’s mom was already on her way to pick her up from the sleepover, as the neuro-ophthalmologist demanded that Jordyn and her parents return, despite the appointment that was scheduled for six weeks later. The doctor’s exact words to Jordyn’s mom were, “bring someone with you,” as Jordyn’s dad was out of town on a business trip. When Jordyn, her mother, her grandmother, and her aunt arrived at CHOP, they were immediately taken back to a room in the ophthalmology unit. As Jordyn was taken away for additional testing, the news was given to Jordyn’s mother and her confidants: Jordyn had a brain tumor. While the severity of the brain tumor had yet to be determined, Jordyn’s mother nearly collapsed. Completely unaware of the life-altering news just given, Jordyn entered a room full of crying adults. The doctor felt it was best if Jordyn’s mother gave her the news. After being given the news by her mother, a frightened Jordyn asked “Am I going to die?” Jordyn’s mom, not quite sure of the answer, did everything in her power to reassure Jordyn of her strength and perseverance.
Following that fateful day, Jordyn had a brain biopsy, where it was determined that she had a grade two diffuse astrocytoma brain tumor. Additionally, Jordyn endured fifteen months of chemotherapy. The physical and emotional toll of chemotherapy did not have an impact on Jordyn’s resilience. Despite being sick six out of the seven days of the week, constantly being poked with needles, and missing out on her entire eighth grade year, Jordyn remained determined. Amidst all of the hardship in her life, Jordyn wanted to give back. After being offered a “wish,” Jordyn decided that she needed to raise money for the “wish” organization first. She formed a team and raised over $20,000 so that other kids could receive “wishes” as well. Furthemore, her constant fatigue and nausea did not stop her from walking for the National Brain Tumor Society. Throughout the duration of her treatment, Jordyn’s tumor did not grow or shrink. So, her oncologist stopped her treatment for quality of life purposes. However, her philanthropic efforts did not end when she completed treatment.
During her time on the oncology floor at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Jordyn noticed many things regarding the teenagers and babies who were treated there. Around the holidays, many people donated gifts to the oncology floor that were separated by age group, but they were not exactly age appropriate. Of course, Jordyn and the other teenagers there were very appreciative of the gifts they received, but it felt as though they were an afterthought. The lack of validation was evident in the gifts that were being given. Jordyn wanted to address this issue in a way that would meet the needs of every age group on the oncology floor. After living her life “chemo-free” for one year, Jordyn wanted to change this, so she started Small Miracles in order to bring joy to children of all ages throughout the year. From personal experience, Jordyn knew exactly what she wanted to put in each of the gifts that would be distributed. She wanted to create a treatment bag that would include useful gifts to anybody who would receive it.
Jordyn’s original goal for this fundraiser was to raise $800 to supply some patients with a $10 gift card and some of the other gifts that she wanted to include. However, through the power of social media, Small Miracles raised far more money than she could have ever imagined. With this money, Jordyn and her devoted team put together 304 treatment bags. Each bag contained a $25 amazon gift card, a pair of fuzzy socks, lip balm, a deck of cards, a “HOPE” rock, and a stress ball. In addition, 39 individual $25 gift cards were also donated. By putting together Small Miracles, Jordyn realized the immensity of her passion for this cause. With the help of friends and family, Small Miracles is now an official 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Jordyn’s selflessness inspires those around her, and she hopes to bring joy to the oncology floor at CHOP all year round.