HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- An emergency room monitor technician could not hold back her tears when her co-workers came together to help her in her family's time of need. Jenn Ross, 27, has had a tough year. Actually, it is her six-year-old son who has had it really tough. Earlier this year Jenn and her husband Jaquan, also 27, learned Jaquan Jr. had Neuroblastoma. He was diagnosed with the rare form of childhood cancer on his final day of kindergarten at Ginter Park Elementary.
"We found out in June when we went in for his six-year-old checkup," Jaquan said. "They noticed a lump on his stomach."
That lump turned out to be a tumor. The cancer diagnosis resulted in hospital visits and chemotherapy for the child and anxious days for his parents.
"He's been doing great with the treatments," Jaquan said. "He's not looking like this as a bad thing. He just knows he sometimes does not feel so good."
As the Ross family's medical bills piled up, friends and family came to their aid. Jaquan's co-workers at West Rock set up a GoFundMe to help cover some of the family's rising medical costs. But on Monday night, something truly unexpected happened.
At the start of Jenn's shift at Henrico Doctors' Hospital on Parham Road, her co-workers gathered to give the hard-working monitor tech a Christmas surprise.
"Everyone is here because we love you," nurse manager Susan Moore began. "You have been through more in the last few years than most of us have been through in a lifetime. You have handled it with pride and with grace. Things that would have knocked us to our knees, you have stood up to. We want to honor you tonight. So we're giving you this gift."
After handing Jenn a Christmas gift for Jaquan Jr., Moore handed Jenn a large card that was "from all of us."
"You are our hero," Moore continued. "And here are 3,000 ways we want to show you."
Inside the card were $3,000 worth of gift cards to local stores, gas stations and restaurants.
"We are hoping this will help you and your family. We love you," Moore said.
Jenn began to cry, consumed in the emotions of the moment.
"I feel loved. I really didn't expect it," Jenn said about the surprise. "I see it on TV all the time, people helping other people, I never thought it would happen to me."
Nurse Meg Myers, who recorded video of the emotional presentation, said helping Jenn was a group effort.
"Over the last few weeks the staff from the Emergency Department contributed how ever much they could," Myers said. "It included our nurses, doctors, registrars, nurse practitioners and physicians assistants, our medical director, nurse manager and ED department director."
Myers said they did it because Jenn has such a kind heart and always helps others.
"She always goes above and beyond what she needs to," Myers said. "After she found out her son had cancer she didn't take off work very long. She came right back and worked full time and helped maintain the craziness that is an ER. Not only did she continue to work after his diagnosis and through his treatments, she also went to school for her medical assisting degree."
Husband Jaquan said Jenn's co-workers even kept the surprise from him.
"She sent me a picture, I was just like wow," he said. "I kinda of teared up a little bit, just to see her reaction."
Jaquan said the experience has left their family feeling lots of love.
"It just makes you think, there are just really good people out there," he said. "Not everyone is in the best situation, but they're willing to help us out."