Our June Bug
June Corley Jessee was born on April 29, 2012. She was 8 pounds 9 ounces and 21.25 inches of pure love. Our journey with her health problems began the following morning when she failed the newborn hearing screening at the hospital. The epileptic seizures started not long after bringing her home, eventually numbering in the hundreds to thousands each day. Desperate to find answers, we took June to one specialist after another, coming away with more questions than answers on the underlying cause of her symptoms and only temporary solutions. We lived in a constant state of worry and unknowns about her health and future.
As her issues compounded – developmental delays, kidney problems, bowels that simply stopped working and more – and exhaustive testing failed to reveal an overarching diagnosis, we turned to experimental therapies, even moving our family hundreds of miles from home…without success. Our “June Bug” died on February 4, 2016; a little more than two months shy of her 4th birthday, surrounded by her mom, dad and baby brother. Although June could not communicate in words, she spoke to our hearts – deeply and profoundly – and continues to inspire us every day. It’s in her honor that we move forward, find purpose and be people that would make her proud.
We learned a great deal during our journey and found many resources in the St. Louis area, most through our own investigative work, but could never pinpoint one clearinghouse of information or support for families of children who are medically complex. Our desire is to share those lessons with others and, through the June Jessee Fund at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, help offset the cost of medical care, so that families can spend more time loving their sweet child than sorting it all out. Our time with June was frightening, painful, raw, beautiful, precious and short. If we could turn back the clock and have the choice to go through it all again, we would choose June every time.
Matt and Genny Jessee
It’s important for families with children like June to have a trusted medical team whom they call on for counsel and support. Since many of June’s problems stemmed from her brain, we confided in June’s neurologist, Liu Lin Thio, MD, Ph.D., at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. We’ve continued to seek his guidance on the formation of the foundation and how to best support other families like ours. We are immensely grateful to Dr. Thio for volunteering his time and expertise to help the June Jessee Memorial Foundation achieve its mission.