GINTA – For Jessie and Sue, it’s love that sustains hope

(Image: Daniela Ginta photo)

IT’S SATURDAY, LATE AFTERNOON, and the drizzle is picking up. I’m at the beach in Savona with my dog, sitting on a log mesmerized by the small concentric circles formed by raindrops as they land on the lake.

I wish I could see this place exactly seven years ago, sitting on the same log, albeit with a teeny pup trying to find her legs on the pebbly beach.

There would be a chance that I’d see a young man smiling as he’d get himself ready to go for that first lake swim of the season. He’d likely stop to see my pup, too, given his sweet nature and love for animals.

How do I know all that? I do because I know Jessie Simpson and over many hours spent at his care home, he shared glimpses of his life from years ago. He used to come to this beach and swim, opening and closing the season, his mom said, since he was little.

Today, he is sitting in his wheelchair, covered with a newly gifted homemade wool blanket that reads ‘To the moon and back’, smiling at the small crowd that had gathered to celebrate him and his resilience, and singing along to his favourite tune, Lose Yourself by Eminem.

The party was organized by his mom, Sue Simpson. The most accurate word to describe her is relentless. It’s been a long almost seven years since the day their lives changed forever.

The toll on her health is not negligible. She has chronic health issues that surface when the stress gets to be too much and then she takes a couple of days off. Jessie is her reason to be and fight. His strength is hers, and her strength feeds his.

It’s been almost seven years of life no parent can imagine. After being savagely assaulted by Christopher Teicrieb the early morning of June 19, 2016, following a graduation party, Jessie spent 10 long months in a coma before returning to life.

That he came out of that coma is a miracle. That he went from his body being limp and immobile to lifting his arms, lifting his feet, and wiggling his toes, is also miraculous. Ditto for regaining speech, remembering many things from his life before the attack and adding more memories and mental capabilities with each day.

But Jessie is still bedridden and will likely continue to be. Another miracle is needed, you may say, and I agree.

The first thing he says to me after we say hello is ‘I want to get up and walk to the beach.’
He talks about it a lot. He misses it, and he misses his pet cat who died a couple of years ago before he was able to come home for visits.

If you asked Sue, she’d tell you what she misses the most: hearing his steps in the morning, his goodbye hug before he heads out for the day and the countless life noises that reassure us parents that our children are with us, safe and happy. The things we so often take for granted…

But Sue doesn’t want to spend too much thinking of that. ‘Tough as nails’ applies to her in all regards. A single mom, she struggled to make sense of the tragedy that took her son’s future away. Hers too. She spends most of her time thinking of how to care for Jessie, how to make the most of the limited funds she has, and how to improve his quality of life, whether it’s advocating for his care or bringing him his favourite treat – blueberries.

Jessie’s weekend visits at home, whenever possible, are costly, and so are all the expenses Sue incurs as she drives back and forth from Savona to see and care for her son.

One cannot not wonder how she does it. How does she find the strength and motivation to do it even when, at times, it seems that the whole world stands against it?

It’s love, she says, ‘I love Jessie and want the best for him’. That is what powers her 2-hour-of-sleep nights in the hospital after yet another surgery Jessie goes through – he’s had 14 so far, and that’s what powers her determination to go through with legal actions that are needed for a better life.

She mentions the horrible heaviness of having to sit through trials where the story of her son’s attack, photos, and testimonies, are revisited and reiterated; the pain of visiting the neighbourhood where he was attacked; walking in his steps from before it happened, imagining his cries and taking it all in to transform it not into hatred and negativity, but love and determination for what lies ahead.

Forgiveness is not an option, but she doesn’t carry resentment either, she says, because if she did, it would take away from being there for Jessie.

In fact, that’s the best Mother’s Day gift for Sue Simpson: knowing that her Jessie is happy. And he is, and if you were there at their place on this rainy Saturday, you’d have heard him say it: ‘I am so happy I could cry. This is the best day of my life’. Sue hugs him, her heart wrapped around him… many times over.

If you would like to support Jessie so he can get home over the summer, please donate here.
Sue will be organizing a silent auction for Jessie’s birthday (July 26), which you can find more here. You can also find her at

Daniela Ginta is a mother, scientist, writer and blogger. She can be reached at, or through her blog at

About Mel Rothenburger (9634 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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