Blog Post#31- Rileython Week 1 (Jess Cooper)


Jess Cooper, Events Manager

Hi all, 

My name is Jess Cooper, and I am writing this to tell you why Rileython is important to me. 

I created Rileython last year after I was treated at Riley Children’s Hospital for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, which is a blood cancer that spreads throughout the Lymphatic system. 

I was a sophomore, a second-year at WHJE. I was planning our “Last Rock of Summer” event when I was diagnosed. I remember being so afraid. Not only of cancer itself but how the cancer was going to affect my day to day life, and affect who I was. 

“Why did this happen to me?” “What did I do to deserve this?” and “Am I going to wake up tomorrow?” were questions that were constantly roaming my mind. 

I wanted to be the same caring and sometimes overbearing Jess that people knew me for, and I tried so hard to not look as sick as felt. I think I hid it well, but I cannot be any more honest when I say that I was absolutely miserable. 

I was a Junior just cleared out of treatment when I came up with the idea for Rileython. When I first mentioned the idea, my fellow members told me that it was a great idea. I don’t know if any of them believed that I was actually going to do it, but I was just crazy enough to take on another brand new WHJE event. It had no credibility, but I worked hard to make it seem worth the time. They saw my efforts and believed in me and my cause, and for that, I am forever grateful. With their help, we raised over $2000 for my friends at Riley. 

Now I am a senior, doing this event for a second time during a pandemic, knowing that this year is going to be an even bigger challenge than last. 

If it wasn’t for Riley Children’s Hospital, I am positive I wouldn’t be writing this letter to you all. The doctors, nurses, teachers, child life specialists, and all other beings in Riley want to see you succeed in treatment, and in life, and they helped me get through the darkest part of my life. I am forever grateful. I owe my life to them. 

I am fighting for my friends still on 5West (the oncology floor at Riley). I want them to know that I’m not done fighting alongside them. My fight with cancer isn’t over until no child or parent has to hear the words “you have cancer” ever again. 

If you would be so kind as to donate to WHJE’s Rileython page, I know all of us at staff, and all the kids at Riley would greatly appreciate it. 

Thank you so much for your support, 

With love,

Jess Cooper