Family festival to celebrate the life of Jess in Leamington - The Leamington Observer

Family festival to celebrate the life of Jess in Leamington

Leamington Editorial 10th Jul, 2023   0

A FAMILY festival is set to celebrate the life of a rugby-loving girl from Leamington on what would have been her 21st birthday.

JessFest 21 will take place over three days in September and remember the life of Jessica Pardo who died from a brain tumour.

Her mum Sarah Pardo recalls the day Jessica woke with a headache in May 2020, only for events to spiral. She was taken to hospital for a CT scan and a biopsy came back revealing Jessica had stage 4 cancer in the brain.

Over the next few days the family was told it was terminal.

Sarah said: “As the neurosurgeon spoke I felt like I was floating away – this wasn’t happening to us. But we needed to be strong and ensure Jessica was living her best life for the time she had left.

“Jessica was loud, funny and absolutely crazy at times. Jessica loved life, she was loyal and fierce. Jessica had the best few months celebrating life with family and friends. Then early in 2021, our world fell apart all the celebrations stopped, the deafening silence began and the empty feeling continues which only childhood bereavement brings.

“Before Jessica died I promised her I would say her name every day, and keep her memory alive. Now all we have left our memories and Jessica’s name.”

To honor Jessica’s 21st birthday the family are holding a charitable family event at Old Leamingtonians RFC.

JessFest 21 will start at 2pm on Friday September 1 and will run through until Sunday September 3, finishing at 10am.

There will be a line-up of rugby, street food, live music, DJs and a drag auction. People can camp for free, or there is a chargeable pitch with electric hook up.

A raffle and an auction will be held during the festival with all cash raised going to two local charities – Shine a Light support services and Evelyn’s Gift.

JessFest 21 is open to everyone, to come along and share memories of Jess or just to join the fun and raise cash for charity.

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