Team Jess Day Celebrates Memory of Sterling Woman - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Team Jess Day Celebrates Memory of Sterling Woman

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Honoring a life lost too soon-- Jessica Strader was diagnosed with breast cancer at just 27 years old. She battled the disease for three years before passing away last February as 500 people gathered outside her home for a prayer chain.     

Now the community she left behind is continuing to rally around her family and show support even after her death with Team Jess Day. 

Family and friends painted the town pink today as local businesses sold pink items with part of the proceeds going to the Strader family, all to show the support for jess will never stop.  

"Jess Strader has been a big part of our community," Store Owner Amanda Jacobs says. 

Driving around Sterling Saturday you might see a hint of pink here and there to honor Jessica Strader. 

"We wanted to do something in memory of Jess and make it an annual event," Jessica's Uncle and Owner of Golden Key Gifts Terry Bright says, "We wanted to keep that going and help other people along the way." 

It was a day full of pink to celebrate Jessica's life. Both Jessica's aunt and uncle came up with the idea, and when they mentioned the idea to other business owners-- they were in. 

"In her short life span, she's touched so many people in our community and we were blessed," Jacobs says," We were all blessed in our community to have Jess Strader be a part of our lives; this is just my way of saying, ‘Thanks Jess.'" 

A special needs teacher and mother of two, Jessica Strader touched many during her time in the community. 

"We were very fortunate to have Jess be a part of my grandson for a few short months," Jacobs says, "Jess just brought a lot of new things to the table with Riley that we could work on." 

"Jess always had such a positive attitude," Family Friend Sandi Ivey says, "She was always encouraging people that are breast cancer survivors." 

Dozens, including some who didn't even know her, packed these stores to prove it.  

"It's been an awesome response, it's been unbelievable," Jessica's Cousin Megan Bright says, "There's been so many people here trying to make all the stops." 

"It just shows me how strong my wife was and how inspiring she was, even after she's gone people are still doing things for her," Jessica's Husband Jared Strader says. 

Though they've lost her, friends and family say Jessica's memory lives on through Team Jess and all the community support. 

"This is what it's all about, we're a small community and we all work together, we're mighty, and this is for you Jess," Jacobs says. 

 This was the first team jess day but it won't be the last. The family says they'd like to get more stores involved and continue the tradition on the last Saturday in March every year, right around Jessica's birthday.