July 21, 2017 ‒ “For the last 22 years, The Jester Has Lost His Jingle has given me strength and courage,” said Jesse Hernandez. At 27, Jesse told his story to those gathered for The Jester’s Taste of the South Bay Soiree. “For the last two decades that book has changed my life.”
“You read the book to me when I was 5 and in Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach,” he said to Barbara Saltzman, mother of the late author-artist David Saltzman. “Thank you for giving me hope then ‒ and now.” It was an emotional moment for Jesse and The Phund’s founder, who had read her late son’s book to Jesse shortly after its release in late October 1995 and hadn’t seen him since.
The Jester book she gave him has continued to help him smile, recalled Jesse’s mother, Joann Hernandez, who had been told her son wouldn’t live to 8.
Six-year-old Madison Radlein, now in remission after treatment for cancer, also shared her Jester story. “The Jester & Pharley always make me feel so happy and make me laugh,” Madison said with a big smile.
“It’s always a pleasure to give Jester books and dolls to our patients, as they benefit so much from its optimism and joy,” said Dr. Julie Noble, retiring coordinator of Harbor-UCLA’s community advocacy program. Soiree and tennis tournament proceeds will provide Jester books and dolls to young cancer patients at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.
2017 A Taste of the South Bay Soiree
Photos Courtesy of Sarah Saltzman