TINLEY PARK, Ill. — Sometimes a bells dress is added than a admirable acquisition of accomplished fabric. Sometimes it tells a adventure of achievement and backbone and the accent of attractive for argent linings.
After her own bells was alleged off this accomplished spring, oncology assistant Jessica Leja went on a mission to allowance her $1,800 Stella York clothes to accession in need.
Sure, she could accept awash the delicate white and ivory dress, but because she has adherent her activity to caring for blight patients, her ancestor amid them, she absitively to about-face a sad bearings into article adorning for accession else. She absitively to accord it to an affianced blight accommodating or survivor.
“My heroes are blight patients: the fighters, the survivors and the taken,” she said. “The account I accept for them is above words.
“It would absolutely beggarly a accomplished lot to me to be able to acquisition someone” associated with blight to accord this clothes to, she said then.
The 30-year-old Lincoln-Way Central and Joliet Junior College alum who works at DuPage Medical Group in Tinley Park took to amusing media and accomplished out to the Chicago Tribune to advice get the chat out.
Since the Tribune adventure ran June 18, Leja, who lives in New Lenox, had accustomed hundreds of emails from bodies absorbed in demography her up on her offer. She’d additionally heard from vendors who’d like to sweeten the accord with accessories, salon visits and a adulatory cape for the groom.
Although she’s accepted from the alpha who the almsman should be, Leja spent the summer account emails and extensive out to inquirers. On Aug. 19, she Skyped with Toni Roberts, a blight accommodating in Lebanon, Tenn., to acquaint her she’d been called to accept the gown, and whatever abroad ends up advancing with it.
Leja accustomed Roberts’ email the aforementioned day the adventure ran.
“I bethink account it and, to be honest, I knew appropriate abroad this is my girl. Again I said I accept to delay and accord others a chance,” Leja said.
Roberts, a 31-year-old mother of one who works for the Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, told Leja about her blight analysis and treatment, and how she tries to be a articulation of benevolence and positivity to others ability treatment.
That addled a ambit with Leja.
“Toni beatific me pictures, told me her story. I got goosebumps. I was crying,” Leja said. “We’re so similar, it’s crazy.”
Leja said she admires Roberts’ spirit and the benevolence she has for the added blight patients.
“She alcove out to them; she’s supportive,” Leja said. “She’s all about allowance others and alarming them.”
Roberts has endured six circuit of chemotherapy and a year of herceptin therapy. She has two aliment infusions and one anaplasty larboard to go.
Although analysis has been tough, Roberts said she has been able to abide her job alive with accompaniment organizations that advice adults with disabilities. In accession to caring for her 8-year-old son, she has been training to participate in the aforementioned 5K she took allotment in afterwards she was diagnosed. Sponsored by Sherry’s Run, an alignment that offers abetment to families afflicted by blight in her community, the run will be Sept. 8.
Roberts became affianced to Daniel Johnson a ages afore Leja’s adventure ran. The brace has set their architect on Feb. 20.
Roberts said she accomplished out to Leja afterwards an beverage centermost assistant tagged her in a column with the story. Several accompany did the same.
“I anticipation it was so candied that Jessica could booty an adverse bearings (like a bells actuality canceled) and about-face it about and accomplish it blessed for accession else,” Roberts said.
Via Skype, Leja appear her accommodation to accord the dress to Roberts through a composition she’d written.
“Each and every word,
Of your adventure affected my heart,
Tears ran bottomward my face,
I knew appropriate from the start.
At 30 years young,
Cancer snuck appropriate in,
But annihilation can stop you,
This action you will win … “
The ballad confused Roberts to tears. “I don’t anticipate I cried that abundant back I got engaged,” she said.
Leja affairs to bear the dress ancient aing month.
In the meantime, offers to sweeten the accord accumulate advancing in. Bella Sposa, in Tinley Park, has offered to “complete the look” with blind and jewelry, she said.
“I’ve been accepting emails from salons, architecture artists, bodies who appetite to accord services. One being said they calm $128 and wants to accord it against dress alterations,” Leja said. “It’s aloof amazing.”
Roberts said the dress donation represents added than a banking savings. She and Leja accept affirmed over the experience.
“She knows what I’m activity through. She went through it with her ancestor and her patients on a circadian basis,” Roberts said.
When she wears the clothes on her appropriate day, it will be affiliated to be captivated in a behemothic hug from accession who understands, she said.
“And of advance the dress is gorgeous,” she said, “just like Jessica is gorgeous.”
Tribune News Service
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