Colonie

Birthday convoy delivers hope, cheer to Niskayuna High sophomore fighting cancer

Hundreds turn out to offer birthday support
The Schenectady Pipe Band performs as Jackie Jasiewicz looks on Sunday in Colonie.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
The Schenectady Pipe Band performs as Jackie Jasiewicz looks on Sunday in Colonie.

Categories: News, Saratoga County, Schenectady County

On Sunday, they wore pink.

Even the vehicles, which crept up Vly Road with horns honking and sirens blazing, were festooned with pink-themed imagery.

The rose-hued vehicular convoy was dispatched to wish a local teenager celebrating a sweet 16 under challenging circumstances. 

GAZETTE COVID-19 COVERAGE

The Daily Gazette is committed to keeping our community safe and informed and is offering our COVID-19 coverage to you free.
Our subscribers help us bring this information to you. Please consider a subscription at DailyGazette.com/Subscribe to help support these efforts.
Thank You

Jackie Jasiewicz, a 10th-grader at Niskayuna High School, was diagnosed last month with a rare form of cancer and is receiving treatment at Melodies Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Albany Med. 

The Verdoy Fire Department, where her father, Tom, serves as president, organized the bash.

“We wanted to make it as big as possible,” said Chief Nick DiNovo.

He estimated 20 official vehicles from several agencies and over 100 private vehicles took part, which was staged at Plaza 7 Commons near the Jasiewicz’s home. 

Vehicular convoys have emerged as a way to rally spirits during the coronavirus pandemic, from teachers checking in on students to clergy praying over first responders, a weekly Sunday ritual in the city.

They’ve also taken on the role of pop-up community events.

People milled about ahead of the procession from the safety of their vehicles, exchanging neighborhood news, updates — even doughnuts (pink, of course), which a volunteer delivered from car-to-car. 

Dina Yates graduated from Colonie Central High in 1989 with Jackie’s mother, Amy, who is a cancer survivor. 

“To have to see her daughter go through the same thing, it has to be heartbreaking,” Yates said. “But the family is very strong. It’s going to be a long road, but they’ve got the support of the community.”

Patsy Carl, a family friend, struggled to hold back tears as she put the finishing touches on decorating her car. 

“In tough times, people are here for each other,” Carl said. “We love her and want to see her smile.”

Jackie did. 

A smile never left her face during the 30-minute party, from the bagpipe performance by the Schenectady Pipe Band to the stream of cars containing hundreds of people hollering well wishes, throwing gifts and blowing bubbles.  

There were clowns, people with pink hair, a boat — even a woman who delivered a singing telegram, all designed to cheer her on through her treatments.

Jackie took it all in, surrounded by her family 

“It’s definitely a birthday I’m never going to forget,” she said.

Well-wishers can wish Jackie a happy birthday at a Facebook page designed to boost the family’s spirits and offer support, @JackiesRaiseofSunshine.

GAZETTE COVID-19 COVERAGE

The Daily Gazette is committed to keeping our community safe and informed and is offering our COVID-19 coverage to you free.
Our subscribers help us bring this information to you. Please consider a subscription at DailyGazette.com/Subscribe to help support these efforts.
Thank You

Leave a Reply