Nov. 30--STILLWATER -- Friends, family members and community residents are rallying to raise money to help the grieving Jeanson family after their healthy toddler son died unexpectedly.
A Dec. 7 fundraiser will help defray a $30,000 bill from an emergency helicopter flight and other medical expenses not covered by insurance following the death of 16-month-old Jayce Jeanson, who died on Oct. 21 of undetermined complications following a choking incident at a cousin's house.
Many are coming together to try to comfort the family after the loss of "Baby Jayce," as he was known, a toddler who smiled easily and loved to dance around when he listened to music.
"He was a good little boy, always smiling, running around and dancing all the time," said Danielle Colombo, Jayce's aunt, who is an organizer of the fundraiser for the Stillwater family.
The toddler had four older siblings between the ages of 3 and 8. "It's been hard on them," Colombo said.
A cousin was babysitting Jayce on Oct. 17 when the toddler appeared to choke on something he had eaten and stopped breathing, which prompted a call to 911, Colombo said. Emergency medical technicians transported the toddler to Saratoga Hospital and he was later airlifted to Albany Medical Center Hospital, where he died four days later in the pediatric intensive care unit. Through the Donate Life organ donation program, the Jeansons donated Jayce's internal organs.
"It was a devastating loss that was really difficult for the family physically, mentally and emotionally," Colombo said.
The mother, Amber Jeanson, was too distraught to return to her job in retail sales, Colombo said. The father, Brian Jeanson, works as an installer for the Dish network.
Colombo, who works in sales at Cooley Motors in North Greenbush, is spearheading a Dec. 7 fundraiser at American Legion Post 91 in Mechanicville. The event will include dinner, a live band, disc jockey and an auction of donated goods. All proceeds will go to the Jeanson family to help defray medical costs.
Among the items to be auctioned are hockey tickets to the Albany Devils, a full car detailing at Cooley Motors, a gift certificate for a princess birthday party at Glennpeter Jewelers, a gift basket from TreePaad Fun Center in Malta and four rounds of golf at Mohawk River Country Club in Rexford.
In addition, family members have established a Jayce Jeanson Memorial Fund at TD Bank.
"We're hoping to get 100 people to come out to celebrate the life of our lost angel," Colombo said.
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