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Jesse England Tribute Fund

JESSE ENGLAND'S STORY

Type: Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor Rhabdomyosarcoma

Location: Left Foot & Ankle

Diagnosed: 2019

There’s a saying my Uncle once said about Jesse, “If you knew him, you loved him.” You see, Jesse was the kind of person who was diplomatic, generous to a fault, and positively insightful in ways that seemed impossible. To this day, whenever I encounter conflict in my life, I still see the soft smile lines form around his eyes and hear his words of comfort which always ended in mutual laughter.  

Jesse England was my husband, mentor, and most importantly, my best friend. He was diagnosed with a Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor in 2019 at the age of 36.  

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An innocuous tiny bump on his ankle grew suddenly and rapidly after 7 years of what looked like a bug bite scar. MPNST is very rare and notoriously difficult to diagnose, and his diagnosis led us to the decision to amputate Jesse’s left foot and ankle. I knew Jesse was loved, but the droves of support from friends far and near offering playful jokes of Jesse’s transformation into a pirate, truly solidified the mark he continually made in this life.  

Transitioning into a single foot life never stopped Jesse from engaging with his true passions: art, and glassblowing. In the glass biz, we would often say that glassblowers are the athletes of the art world. Nonetheless, even before his leg was ready for his prosthetic, you would find him in the glass studio wielding crutches and masterfully maneuvering a wheelchair among molten glass. We had heard rumors that chemotherapy might slow him down, but his drive surpassed the hurdles of fatigue. As creatives, these moments would lead us into dreams of specialized glassblowing prosthetics, surely to be developed specifically for Jesse’s use. The magnificent half-robot, half-man, glassblower! 

In fact, Jesse had his foot cremated, and together we created glass art objects to commemorate the incineration of his tumor. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but I do believe that he might be the only person to have ever encapsulated ashes from his own body into glass art. It feels very telling to his character, and charisma.  

Jesse underwent the entire gamut of treatments: surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and trial drugs. He fought for 18 months after his first diagnosis before sarcoma took his life. During the time of his treatment, he and I both were very fortunate to have been surrounded by not only family, but the glass art community. Through his battle, we discovered the importance of community and friends, and felt the impact even the smallest of gestures can make for someone in need of support.  

In the words of Jesse England himself, “We are always collaborating.” The NW Sarcoma Foundation helps those affected by sarcoma, and I invite you to join us in this collaboration. Help us continue to build community by lifting others up, and together we can ensure that no one must face sarcoma alone. 

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