In Loving Memory: Jessica Ribando-Dopka

Posted by | July 27, 2016 | Stories - In Loving Memory | 3 Comments

PJessica Ribando- DopkaJessica was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2013, and lost her battle on January 18, 2015.

I had absolutely no idea that she was going through this because I hadn’t seen her in 6-and-a-half years prior to her passing. I found out the news on January 21, 2015 while sitting in my English class. Jessica was my babysitter in the summer of 2008, and I formed a strong bond with her; she was like the big sister I never had. She was so much fun to be around – there was a light about her that followed her wherever she went. Jess had the biggest heart and a contagious personality. You couldn’t help but smile around her.

One thing that I will never forget is that she helped me conquer my fear of the diving board (sort of). She reassured me that nothing was going to happen to me, and that I was safe with her. I can vividly remember jumping off and Jess catching me in the water. I will always remember how proud she was of me. To this day, I haven’t jumped off the diving board because Jessica was the only one I trusted in that water.

Jessica was a 5th grade teacher in Chicago, and that’s how I ended up getting in touch with her in Februrary of 2013. That was the last time we ever emailed. I’ve always wanted to be a teacher, so after I found this out, it made me even more motivated to follow my dream of inspiring children the way that she did. I’m officially starting my journey into college and earning my teaching degree, and I feel Jessica everywhere I go. I know how proud of me she is, and I’m confident in the fact that she will be there with me every step I take into my exciting path of education.

I was so blessed to have Jess as a part of my life; she was my hero and the big sister I never had. Now that she is in heaven, she is my guardian angel, too. I miss her every single day, but I know that I will see her in heaven one day. I want to raise as much awareness for colon cancer as possible in her memory, because I know that is what she would want.

We all miss and love you so much, Jess. Fly high my angel.

In Loving Memory story told by Kristin Pollastrini.

 

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3 Comments

  • Jasmine Santander says:

    Mrs. Jessica Ribando Dobka sorry if i missed spelled Dobka was my fifth grade teacher at Uno Marquez, without her i don’t think i would have survived that school year. She helped me with my brother i had told her my brother was in the hospital because he found out he had cancer i remember her always asking me how i feel and if he was better, i would always hug her and say thank you for being their for me without her i believe i would have gone into depression. i am currently a sophomore in high school and ever since i met her i have been waiting for the day i go to college and i am able to start my education mayor i want to teach those the way she did i want to be there for students and let them know i’m gonna be there for them no matter what. I remember the day they told us she had passed away, I was in English class ready to go to art class with her best friend when her best friend, my Spanish teacher and principle came in, when they told us “i am sorry to inform you guys that Mrs.Ribando has passed away this morning in the hospital” i will never forget that moment that is the moment i felt part of me died i lost part of my hope because i could not believe god took such a amazing women away from us. the look her bestfriend had made me burst into tears when i got to art class i couldn’t even breath i wanted to call my brother to see if he was ok but i couldn’t so i walked out of class and cried for the rest of the class. I remember getting home and seeing my brother walk back from the taco place i ran to him and hugged him i told him thank you for still being here please don’t ever leave me. When it came time to celebrate the bench they built in her honor i saw her family there her husband, mom and dad… it was raining that day and i didn’t care because that way people wouldn’t see that I was crying. I will never forget you Mrs.Ribando i will carry you in my heart till it is time for me to leave this world I will make you proud I promise
    Love
    Jasmine,

    • Kristin Pollastrini says:

      Jasmine,
      Wow, that was amazing. I’m currently a freshman in college and like you, I want to major in education. Jessica (Mrs. Dopka to you) was an amazing babysitter and friend to me. When I found out she died, a part of me died inside too. It was very hard at first, but she has sent me many signs to let me know she’s watching over me. I know that we are both making her proud!
      – Kristin

  • Kristin Pollastrini says:

    Jasmine,

    Wow, that was amazing. I’m currently a freshman in college and like you, I want to major in education. Jessica (Mrs. Dopka to you) was an amazing babysitter and friend to me. When I found out she died, a part of me died inside too. It was very hard at first, but she has sent me many signs to let me know she’s watching over me. I know that we are both making her proud!

    – Kristin

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