The Joliet West community is saddened to hear of the untimely passing of junior, Vanessa Vela, who battled leukemia since before her sophomore year in high school.
Vela had a fighting spirit and remained optimistic throughout her treatement, even while in isolation during her bone marrow transplant this past August 10th
Vela never fought alone, the community continuously rallied around her to show their support with a fundraiser this past August hosted by the Joliet Slammers to help offset the medical expenses the family is faced with.
Now, in her memory, the Joliet Community is collecting donations to award a scholarship to a graduating senior at Joliet West in her name.
Friends and family all took to social media to offer their condolences and share favorite memories of Vela.
Mrs. Campolattara worked with Vela while on homebound instruction during her treatment and is forever changed by the time they spent together.
“Vanessa worked so hard while she was on homebound as she wanted to stay on track with her school work. One time while I was tutoring her the home health care nurse came to give her chemo, I said I would leave so that she could get her chemo. Vanessa asked me to stay and work with her while she got chemo so I stayed and we worked on homework while she received chemo.”
Campolattara continues, “Vanessa called me on the morning of her bone marrow transplant and she told me that she felt great and was so excited about the transplant. She believed she was going to be okay and we talked about how we would celebrate when she graduated with her class in May 2015. Unfortunately the bone marrow transplant didn’t work. I will always remember her beautiful smile!”
Friend and also a junior at West, Simona Alvarez, expressed, “So much energy, life, love in that girls heart impacted my life form the day I met her, it it weren’t for her I wouldn’t be the person I am today. If you wanns see true strength look at her, think of her, only her!”
One thing is for sure, Vanessa has left an imprint on Joliet West and will never be forgotten. The Joliet West Community offers their deepest condolences.