Cape Breton parents want to raise awareness of disease that killed daughter
A mother and a father who have suffered an unimaginable loss have a warning for other parents.
Just weeks away from her fourth birthday, their daughter died suddenly from meningococcal septicaemia.
Now they're hoping to raise awareness about the disease and starting a movement that encourages people to “Jay it forward.”
Pictures of a bright little girl and the colour pink dominate the living room where Jaycee Tracey used to play.
“She was the best little girl,” said her mother Allison Kendall. “She was the best friend a mom could ask for.”
At nearly four years old, Jaycee and her two year old sister Jaya were healthy active children.
But that changed suddenly just a few weeks ago. Within a few short hours, Jaycee became extremely ill. Kendall called her mother, who has been a doctor in the community for more than 30 years, and told her that Jaycee needed medical attention immediately.
“It was so fast,” Kendall said. “She went from regular flu symptoms to extremely sick in hours -- hours. It was the worst thing ever.”
The loss is not only rocking the family to its core, but an entire community is sharing their pain.
Line-ups at the wake stretched around the block and a make-shift memorial was set up on the family’s front lawn.
“She was our everything,” said her father Carter Tracey. “Her and her little sister Jaya, there's not anything we wouldn't do for them.”
As the family continues to grieve, they are also left with a goal. Warning other parents to vaccinate their children early and often to fight a disease that took Jaycee so quickly.
“It's scary,” Kendall said. “It's like wildfire. It's rapid. One second their skin is normal and then 10 minutes later there's three more and it comes, and it comes fast, and it comes hard. And I don't want that to happen to anyone else, ever.”
Family and friends will gather at the South Street ball field Saturday at 1 p.m., where Jaycee’s little sister Jaya will throw out the opening pitch to kick start the women's softball league. All part of “Jay It Forward.”
“She was an amazing little girl, and I would really, really, really like for this ‘Jay It Forward’ movement to catch on because she made this world a little bit more awesome every single day,” said Kendall. “For people to carry that on, she would be so proud. She would love that.”
While they say nothing will replace losing the light of their life, they can only hope Jaycee's light will shine on through the good deeds of others.
The family wants to bring awareness to the rare disease that took their daughter’s life. It’s not your typical form of meningitis, its call meningococcal septicaemia, they say in addition to being rare, it works rapidly and is extremely deadly.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore.