We would like to recognize a special lady today, Ms. Patricia LePera. Patti is Jen’s aunt, who provided emotional support and companionship to Jen while she was in treatment. She would always find time in her crowded schedule to make the trek from Pennsylvania to Valhalla, NY to visit Jen when she was hospitalized, often bringing Jen’s grandmother along so she could visit also. Many times she would bring treats from home, which we all enjoyed greatly. There was one occasion in particular when she brought an assortment of deli sandwiches, hot and cold, to Jen’s room, which were spread out all over the desk when the infection control officer came to inspect. A group of us stood like a wall in front of that desk until the officer left, but to this day I can’t figure out how she could have overlooked the smell of meatballs and salami in that room!
Patti and her husband also made trips to Dutchess County to visit Jen when she was home. Jen looked forward to these visits and dearly appreciated the effort being made on her behalf, as we all did. The photo shown with this post was a selfie taken by Jen of her and Aunt Patti in New York City, where she and her husband took Jen to see a limited-run production of “A Raisin In The Sun” on Broadway, starring Denzel Washington. The book based on a play by Lorraine Hansberry was always one of Jen’s favorites in school, and Patti had bought tickets for the show months before Jen was even diagnosed. Patti made sure Jen’s doctors knew how important this play was to Jen, and thankfully she was able to go. It was a special day for her.
When we lost Jen, Patti offered emotional and financial support to our family, for which we shall be forever grateful. Those were terrible days, and all of Jen’s aunts and uncles offered support to us, all while dealing with their own heartache. Later, when we thought about launching The Jennie Foundation, Patti offered her wealth of knowledge and experience in working with, for, and in support of non-profit organizations to help us realize this mission to honor Jen. She has since been one of The Foundation’s strongest advocates.
Thank you Patti, for all you’ve done and all you continue to do!