The office phone rang a few days after the Summer 2013 issue of Johns Hopkins Nursing magazine had mailed. It was Jessica Kensky’s father. He was grateful for the thoughts and prayers for his daughter, injured terribly along with her husband in the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15 of that year. The item in the magazine about Jessica was another thoughtful gesture, he said, adding a simple request: Could we kindly change the misspelling of her name, printed as “Jennifer” in the magazine?
Oh, dear. My heart sank and my pulse surged. It was one of those cringe-worthy moments that tears the bandage off all of your insecurities as an editor. My fault. So dumb. So mortifying. So … selfish.
For it was absolutely nothing like Mr. Kensky was going through, the horror that his family and his newlywed daughter and son-in-law were enduring. Jessica was still in the hospital, and would eventually lose both legs on a journey filled with about as much courage and pain as a person can muster and endure.
Our exchange that afternoon was unforgettable, a suffering father calmly offering reassurances to a stranger that “these things happen.” He even giggled about the silly error as I quickly got over myself, and he promised not to share the item with Jessica until we could get the online version corrected. It was so human. You can see where Jessica Kensky gets it from. And you can read in this issue (“All for One”) about the friendships that have gotten her over and around the numerous hurdles on her road to something like recovery.
She has spoken at commencement, visited campus, and been an inspiration to nursing students as well as her peers. And here in this issue, Jessica Kensky opens her heart and shares her humanity, sense of humor, and wonder at the strength of friendship.
We hope you enjoy her story and the rest of Johns Hopkins Nursing. And if you do spot an error, feel free to have your kind, gracious father give me a ring.
Steve St. Angelo