Dear Jack

April 5th, 2016

Karie Nelson

Dear Jack,

Karie Nelson and her daughter Abby Fessler, the inspiration for Dear Jack Foundation's Life List program for AYA cancer patients and survivors.

My name is Karie Nelson; my daughter is Abby Fessler. I am writing this letter at the request of an absolutely wonderful person and dear friend of Abby’s and mine, Katie Poppert. She asked me to write something about our journey that might be helpful to other patients, caregivers, and family members whose lives have been affected in one way or another by cancer.
From Day One of our journey, we learned to take it “one day at a time” and enjoy every minute. As none of us know what tomorrow holds. Take lots of pictures and treasure every laugh, every smile and every hug.

During the nearly four years that Abby battled leukemia, I spent countless hours with a crochet hook in my hand. I can’t tell you how many afghan[ blankets] I crocheted. Then one day, Abby asked me if I could teach her how to crochet. As you can imagine, I was elated.
So we began the process; I remember when I first learned, so I could understand her frustrations. But gradually, she caught on. We started with some simple things to get her used to the needle and yarn. I found a loom that she could makes scarfs and hats with. In this picture, she had just finished these two beautiful hats.

It wasn’t long after that she was tackling more serious projects. For my 50th birthday, she gave me an afghan—an afghan that I will treasure for the rest of my life. She also made one for her best friend’s mom, her “other mother.” I know Kathy will always treasure that also.

I will never sit down again to crochet without feeling her next to me. It was a bond I will forever hold close to my heart.

And last, but certainly not least, you will find strength that you never knew you had!

Keep the faith!


Karie Nelson

Author: Karie Nelson, mother of Abby Fessler, the inspiration behind Dear Jack Foundation’s Life List program

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