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TR Press UK - 05-07-2018
Jessica handed out bracelets and hugs to her beloved “Rynkes”
Only when a participant on Team Rynkeby Østjylland has received one of Jessica’s coveted yellow bracelets can they call themselves a true “Rynke”. That’s what happened today on Mur de Huy.
Stage 5, Mur de Huy: With a bag full of yellow bead bracelets, Jessica waited expectantly for the yellow-clad charity cyclists from Team Rynkeby Østjylland.
Together with her mother, Lise Henneberg, the 10-year-old girl had taken her position in the sunshine atop Mur de Huy in good time before the first riders arrived.
For the third year in a row, Jessica and her mother have made bracelets for all participants of Team Rynkeby Østjylland – including Jessica’s own father, Henrik Henneberg, who this year is making his third trip to Paris for the benefit of children with critical illness.
“This is because they’re cycling,” says Jessica, referring to the bag of yellow bracelets.
Jessica was just seven months old when she was diagnosed with an extremely rare and highly aggressive brain tumour. At that time, doctors estimated that she would not live to be more than one year old.
Now she is the person in the whole world who has lived the longest with the type of tumour she has.
Brain injury and after-effects
Since her infancy, Jessica has undergone several intensive chemotherapy treatments and is currently having proton therapy. But the tumour cannot be removed.
The tumour and the intensive treatment have given Jessica a brain injury. This means that she cannot be alone and requires constant support. She quickly becomes tired and can only go to her special school for three hours a week, play dates last a maximum of 45 minutes, and if Lise or Henrik need to run an errand together, a childminder must be booked.
At the moment, however, Jessica’s condition is stable.
“Jessica is stable and progressing in a positive direction. Both cognitively and physically, she is in progress. But the tumour is stable,” says Lise Henneberg and adds:
“A standstill is better than a setback.”
A true “Rynke”
As the riders from Team Rynkeby Østjylland finally arrive at the top, Jessica is quickly at the centre of the team’s attention.
Jessica has become a mascot for the team – a girl who helps motivate the participants to make an extra effort for the sick children.
And Jessica’s bracelets are distributed just as quickly as the many hugs for the girl with the big smile.
“Jessica wanted to give out bracelets. And it actually started as a joke when Henrik rode his first trip to Paris, where there was a rider asking if he could get a bracelet. And he got it. And suddenly there was a whole team who also wanted bracelets, and it has since become a tradition that we make them and give them out here at Mur de Huy,” says Lise Henneberg.
“It’s family fun – and it’s actually also training therapy for Jessica, so she can learn to concentrate and work with her fine motor skills. So there’s more to it than just making a bracelet,” she adds.
With the awarding of the many bracelets a new generation of Team Rynkeby Østjylland-riders is born – according to the team, you first become a true “Rynke” when you pull one of Jessica’s coveted bracelets onto your wrist.
This story has been translated into English by Semantix Translations Denmark A/S.