May 30, 2006 > Playhouse dedication
by Marge Shively
Hacienda Head Start Preschool in Fremont dedicated a playhouse in memory of Jessica Irene Fernandes (January 5, 2002 - December 27, 2005) on Thursday, May 25. The children were thrilled with the new addition to their play yard and everyone enjoyed ice cream sundaes. Faculty members commented about how much Jessica had brought to the school in her short time there. Her mom, Linda Shively Fernandes, said, "I'm pleased that they dedicated something in Jessica's memory that all the children can enjoy."
Jessica was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), Type I when she was three months old. SMA is the leading genetic cause of death of children under two, and Jessica was given one to two years to live. She died nine days short of her fourth birthday, having lived a very active and full life.
Jessica was a happy, intelligent, and social little girl. She enjoyed preschool and was learning to play "soccer" with her power chair. She loved family and friends and touched everyone she met.
Jessica's family will continue to raise awareness and funds for the current promising research for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) in hope that other families will not have to deal with the issues they have had.
For more information about SMA, future fundraisers, or to make a donation, contact Families of SMA, P.O. Box 3831, Los Altos CA 94024; or www.CureSMA.org; or call (650) 948-3192.