My baby girl is turning 20.
This is a CELEBRATION of her life…join me won’t you?
Scroll with me for a minute down memory lane…
Jena was born to live two worlds.
She was special (and messy) from day one.
She wore her own style…always.
She didn’t cry over ‘spilled milk’ even if it was chocolate.
She truly was a STAR.
She had a knack for getting people (her brother) to do things…
And she was never good at following the rules.
But she was always there if you needed her help.
Jena spent way too much time in hospitals due to Cystic Fibrosis.
But even the hospital couldn’t keep her from making the most out of it.
She had countless procedures and surgeries…
But again…she’d steal the hearts of everyone with her determination and style…no matter where she was.
And just because she was on oxygen to help her breathe…
It NEVER stopped her from doing things she loved. Like skiing with her brother:
Riding her 4-wheeler…
Traveling to MEXICO…
Or going to PARIS
It certainly never stopped her from being goofy with her friends.
Or enjoying special occasions.
Jena was an advocate and fought for Cystic Fibrosis at a young age…and even donated her lungs to science.
She talked to people about CF, and thanked them for their support.
Jena loved her family more than words could say…
And she ALWAYS had a lot to SAY!
She was an original that’s for sure.
She took in all the fun of life.
And was wise beyond her ‘ya-ya’ years.
She was the best teacher I ever had.
She taught me that no matter what struggles you may face in life…
Or how tired you are…
Never forget to laugh with all your might!
even when the going gets tough…
Life lessons: GET DIRTY
Take the wheel of your own life
Show the world your smile
Because you are beautiful, always and forever…
My dear Jena…I love you more than words can say…I love you more and more each day.
…you are so very loved and missed by your family…
So on your 20th Birthday…I will be taking my 13 pennies with me all day and ‘leaving them’ where I go in honor of you, your inspirational life, and what you have taught all whom you have touched in your short 13 years here on earth.
13 pennies…for 13 years here on earth…for your birthday 3/13/13…for the lucky people who will find them. ♥
Happy Birthday baby girl…♥
I love you,
Now go ROCK heaven! xo
John Dirr says
That was so beautiful! The world is missing one very special young lady. Peace to you and your family. I am a heart and kidney transplant recipient and I know how precious life is. Be strong and keep these positive words going every day.
Thank you John, life certainly is precious! May you continue to be healthy with your new kidney!
Suzanne Barki says
You never cease to not touch my heart in such a special way with your Jena memories…and the way you tell her story.
Thank you for always sharing …..
And happy birthday to your baby girl! Can you believe they are all turning 20! When did that happen???
((hugs)) and **kisses**
Love you Suz…and yes, can you believe it??? 20???
Barb Wild says
What a wonderful person you are, how strong and brave you all are because of your sweet baby girl. She is missing you too but will be with you today and always.
She’s always with me…love never ends <3
Mary Dwight says
She is amazing, and so are you! You do her proud everyday.
If I could only have a fraction of her courage…
Joyce Bartlett says
What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful young lady. You never cease to amaze me. Happy Birthday to your baby girl. Just know she’s rockin heaven and smiling down at you.
She mostly certainly is!!! xoxo
Jodi Lobdell Bulson says
Dear Margarete, Such beautiful words for your beautiful daughter. We have a donation jar set up in my day care for Dina S. who has stage 4 bone cancer. In honor of your sweet Jena, I will be putting 13 pennies in that jar tomorrow and I will say a special prayer for Jena in heaven and also for you, Marc and Eric. Love, Jodi
Jodi, that is perfect! You know how much I love Dina…<3
YOU & JENA CONTINUE TO TOUCH PEOPLE DAILY
GOD IS AMAZING
LOVE YOU GUYS
Love you Sharon xoxoxox
Elise Free says
What a beautiful tribute. My daughter Addie has CF and last week when we were at clinic, she found a lucky penny in the parking lot and she said maybe we should always take it to clinic for good luck, so she will always be healthy. 🙂
Find a penny, pick it up…
How did her clinic go?
Liz Wertz says
This was so touching and beautiful. Thank you for reminding me to cherish every day I have with my daughters.
Life is precious as John said above…hug those girls xo
I dont know you, but I read your story with tears in my eyes. You are very lucky to have had someone in your life that you could love so much, and I am sure love you back. Remember her fondly, and forever.
Thank you, Rick. I do.
Sara Winterleitner says
Love love to see the pictures of your sweet Jena! Miss that sweet face!
You and Marc have such a gift of reaching out – and teaching all of us how strength perseverance and determination will make CF stand for Cure Found! Awesome u had Jena as your Best Teacher!
Love u M+M+ E
You know I’m not stopping until CF does stand for CURE FOUND! xoxo
Yes, we miss that smiling face..and her giggle too!
Michael Asch says
Without ever meeting you, or your daughter, it’s clear she has left a lasting legacy. I’m disappointed not to have known her. My 16 year old son has been through 23 months of chemotherapy for leukemia, so far, with more still ahead. It takes strong and special children to endure and march on, with a smile on their face. They are, quite simply, a blessing, not to be taken for granted. I will drop 13 pennies along my way tomorrow in Jena’s memory, in the hope that someone will receive good luck, and that Jena will be delivering that good fortune.
My prayers are with you and your son…it’s amazing how strong our children can be. They are true heroes.
Patty Consolazio says
What an inspiration. I will forward this to others and I know it will make a difference.
Thank you Patty! xo
Missy warren says
What a great tribute to the amazing Jena. What you have done for CF is amazing and I am so glad I got to know Jena and continue to follow your journey to finally find a cure for CF. love ya tons!!!
Love ya back! xoxo
Trish Mostoller says
It was so great to meet you and talk with you on the plane trip to Stewart NY last Thursday. As you celebrate Jena today, please know that I will be sharing my birthday blessings with her every year, beginning today! I truly believe we are touched in some way by everyone we meet, I was certainly touched. Happy Birthday Jena, the next penny I find is going in my pocket!
I’m so glad you posted! Happy birthday back at you!
How are your parents?
I’ll email you…
Jennifer Roussel says
What a wonderful tribute to such a beautiful young lady who obviously lived her life fully. My heart goes out to all of you.
Thank you, Jennifer. xo
that was such a beautiful story u have a beautiful girl there happy birthday jena
Tommy Danger says
Dear Jena, oh how you were a life changer. I never got to meet you but from the stories I can see you have changed so many lives. I know your parents are proud and will not just look at you but look up to you. 13 is too young yet you made 13 years a masterpiece of a life that could of been a disaster. That my friend is the sign of a hero and a role model. Today I run for you and as I run I will carry 13 pennies leaving them along my path through the state of Mississippi. My journey has brought me through the good and bad over thousands of miles but its stories like this and people like you that open my eyes and make me think of why we need a cure. You are constantly on my mind along with your brother and family. I am a lucky dude to have read about you. Your smile makes my heart smile. Keep changing lives even in heaven my friend. The MTJM family is here for your family always and forever!!!
You made me cry…tears streaming down my face. I read this to Marc…trying to smile as I cried…knowing Jena’s spirit was with you as you ran.
I can’t wait to give you a huge hug on the 13th in Daytona when you finish your amazing run across this country!
More Than Just Miles….xoxoxoxoxoxox
I am so very sorry for the loss of your beautiful, daughter. She seemed like an amazing and strong girl. Happy Birthday, Jena! I know she is rocking Heaven. All my best.
Leigh, thank you.
She was, is and always will be xoxox
And you can bet she’s rocking it out up there!
Catherine Strisower-Runnells says
What a great website. I wish I had done something like this for my daughter, Jessica, who passed away from cf at the age of 16. She would be 21 now.
I hope Jena and Jessica meet in heaven…
I’m so very sorry for your loss.
I’m sure Jena and Jessica are already friends…xo
What an amazing tribute to your daughter. I read your book. Your whole family is an inspiration. Happy birthday Jenna! Thanks for sharing her with us. From another cf mama. Love always.
Thank you. Us CF Mamas are in this together!
Breck Gamel says
Thanks Breck xo
Joyce Bartlett says
Today I set out from our boat here in Vero Beach FL with 13 pennies in my pocket. Determined to leave a breadcrumb trail in just the right places in honor of Jena. Never dreamed where this little journey would take me. I’d like to share just a few moments of my day with you. A beautiful little Veterans Memorial park on the Indian River, a place I’ve driven by many times but never took the time to stop. Holy Cross Church – I checked the door of the Blessed Sacrament Chapel and it was open. I walked up to the front row and as I sat down one of my pennies fell out of my pocket and jingled on the floor behind me:) Then down to the beach to see the surf where I left more pennies just at the high tide line, and finally the beautiful fountain on the grounds here on my way back into our marina. Happy Birthday Jena and thank you Margarete for letting us share in your lives. It brought joy to my day.
Joyce that is beautiful!
My sister has cystic fybrosis. She is a miracle she is 28.I love her so much. It touch’s my heart to read about someone with this disease.
How is your sister doing? Please know, we are all in this together…until CF stands for Cure FOUND!
James Nenni says
It’s been a while since I have spoken to you but I just wanted you to know that you, your family and especially Jenna will always remain in my thoughts and prayers. Jenna was a sweet, beautiful girl and I have wonderful memories of our friendship during our Bishop Dunn years. One thing about Jenna that has always stuck with me, was her sense of humor. She could make me laugh out loud and made my days at Bishop Dunn a little more brighter.
I was honored and humbled when I received The Jenna Cassalina Award for Determination. My mom has held on to that award and was humbled herself, and often takes out the award from a safe place to look at it and reflect on its meaning.
Please know that Jenna and her family will forever remain in my thoughts and prayers.
James Nenni III
Thank you so much for writing…you brought a huge smile to my face.
I wish you all wonderful things…I am sure you have and will continue to do amazing things with your life.
Michele Covelli-Lofaro says
WOW! That was amazing! I love, love, love how you keep Jenna’s spirit alive in your heart as well as in others who knew her. I admire all that you have done for CF. You always manage to keep a smile on your face which shows your strengh and determination. There are going to be 13 very lucky people. Happy birthday Jenna and keep smiling 🙂
Jena lives in the hearts of others and that’s how she stays so alive and well.
there are certainly a lot of “lucky” people out there, finding all those “lucky” Jena pennies! xo
Ian Gileski says
I so wish I (we) had been able to meet Jena…because with a Family and parents like you and Marc, she HAD to be amazing!
Smiles and love to you, Marc and Eric!
Ina Davidson says
I don’t know if you remember me – I met you at a CF meeting soon after my grandson Robert died of CF. He was 13 years old as well. I remember when Jena died – I was so heartbroken & she was so beautiful, brave, & an inspiration to everyone. We also celebrate Rob’s birthday every year – he was very special as most CF kids are.
I applaud you & the work you do for CF – You and your family are wonderful & the best parents!! Keep up the good work. I do run a fund raiser each year selling my vintage clothing with all proceeds going to CF. I wish I could do more but the years are catching up to me.
Keep up the great work you are doing – you are so special
Thank you for reaching out and saying hello.
I know Rob and Jena are watching down always…helping us find that cure.
All my best,
beautiful tribute … I always applaud all the work you do for CF and your smile… when I am sure it’s hard to smile some days. I send people to your blog and book.. often.
Thank you,Lisa. xo