A FAMILY festival celebrated the life of a rugby-loving girl from Leamington on what would have been her 21st birthday.
JessFest 21 took place over the weekend and remembered the life of Jessica Pardo who died from a brain tumour.
The charitable family event was held at Old Leamingtonians RFC and featured a line-up of rugby, street food, live music, DJs and a drag auction. People could camp throughout the three day event which ran from Friday (September 1) to Sunday (September 3).
There was also a raffle and an auction, with all cash raised to be divided between two local charities – Shine a Light support services and Evelyn’s Gift.
Jess’s mum Sarah Pardo recalls the day Jessica woke with a headache in May 2020, only for events to spiral. She was taken to hospital for a CT scan and a biopsy came back revealing Jessica had stage 4 cancer in the brain.
Over the next few days the family was told it was terminal.
Sarah said: “As the neurosurgeon spoke I felt like I was floating away – this wasn’t happening to us. But we needed to be strong and ensure Jessica was living her best life for the time she had left.
“Jessica was loud, funny and absolutely crazy at times. Jessica loved life, she was loyal and fierce. Jessica had the best few months celebrating life with family and friends. Then early in 2021, our world fell apart all the celebrations stopped, the deafening silence began and the empty feeling continues which only childhood bereavement brings.
“Before Jessica died I promised her I would say her name every day, and keep her memory alive.”