Community Rising Up

Monica Cline, Facebook Journal Entry, January 1, 2020

🎇We are here, it is one hour and 14 minutes into the new year, the new decade.🎇

As we look back on 2019, there are certain moments that take stock within us and will help guide our actions for 2020. Tonight, I speak on behalf of Jojo’s community, an incredible band of people with passion and purpose. Jojo’s life, heart, and mission here on earth undoubtedly and powerfully touched the lives of many people, young and old.

We are grateful to be surrounded by both a local Jojo community and an out of state and online Jojo community. This community has and continues to be impacted by the life of “Jojo” Jordan Kalua Cline. How he lived his life matters to them. Wherever his name is honored, this community shows up, and in doing so, his legacy lives on. Some of these people have had the opportunity to physically look into his eyes and hear his kind voice, while others have been touched by Jojo’s story or a simple photo.

It is an incredible concept to contemplate how, 689 days later, without his presence here or there, his memory and impact have not faded into the horizon. For me there is a call to action on my life. Jojo taught me how to love fully, live fully, give entirely…I am compelled to walk forward in that. Where does this “walking forward” lead us in 2020? We are brainstorming, contemplating and learning, to better understand; what exactly does it mean to Live Like JoJo? As we know, learning from our past is a good teacher for our future; and so we reflect over 2019.

In the beginning of 2019, we gathered in February to “celebrate” the one year anniversary (how does one actually celebrate that?).The celebration of life came in the form of those who loved him dearly, gathering together over food, to share memories, remember “the good” in all of this, and reflect on the continuing impact of Jordan in each of our lives. 

On May 11, we as Team Live Like Jojo northern california, put our Jojo shirts and “Hawaiian” paraphernalia on and participated in the Energy for Life Walk supporting the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation. It was amazing to have so much of our ohana show up and walk with us. It was an incredibly impactful experience for our boys to do this walk with their cousins, a cause so near and dear to their hearts. With the help of our online Jojo community, we were able to raise $5,938 to support the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation in their pursuit of a cure for mitochondrial disease. Every little bit helps, this is not an exaggeration.

In July and August, the “little people” in Jojo’s community met on a grassy knoll in Laguna Niguel, to make lemonade stands for the CHOC walk. With their parents help, they made signs and sold lemonade and cookies, raising over $600 for Team Live Like Jojo!

On Sunday, August 11th, Team Live Like Jojo southern california, inspired us with a tribe of almost 200 strong for the annual CHOC children’s fundraising walk through Disneyland. On the night of the deadline for CHOC WALK fundraising, we launched into first place in the Grateful Family division. We raised a life-changing $33,757.98 for CHOC! We are so very proud of our team and grateful the children and families at CHOC will benefit tremendously by these funds raised. 2019’s Team Live Like JoJo showed up in bright green shirts, turtle tattoos, picture covered posters, and made quite an impression. You could see the curiosity and smiles from the onlookers and event staff, they wondered, who was this boy and who is this group of people that bring such energy to the forefront? As I type this tonight, the marketing department at CHOC is writing an article on Jojo and the incredible impact of his Team Live Like Jojo community.

On November 10, Jojo’s community gathered together to create Thanksgiving baskets (both in person and virtually) for the families at CHOC. We personally know being alone with your child in the ICU is hard enough, but holidays make you feel especially isolated from the rest of the world. These baskets were a labor of love, with 22 intentional items included; to encourage, bring hope, and a moment of joy to these families on Thanksgiving. On November 27, they were delivered to the CHOC pediatric intensive care unit and were received with grateful tears. Both the families and staff were deeply impacted by the gifts and the experience. Personally, it is overwhelming to take a step back and see the beauty for ashes that has taken shape…when you take one step forward and have the strength of a community that takes that giant leap forward with you, amazing things can happen.

On December 3rd, on Giving Tuesday, our amazing online community surpassed my $707 goal with an outstanding $1,947 raised and awarded to UMDF, to further support mitochondrial disease research and awareness. The funds allotted for finding a cure, mean so very much to our family, we once again thank you.

On December 10, the Jojo community took to santa hats, Christmas sweaters, and songbooks to sing Christmas carols at a local retirement home. The residents laughed, cried, and the staff were grateful to have their very first carolers ever to harmonize through the halls(or we at least tried!). The children also passed out cookies to each resident in the room, and the magic of Christmas was undeniable.

We cannot express our gratitude enough to each one of YOU who has played a role in one or more of the above highlights of 2019. From our boots on the ground volunteers, to the donors, action crew, creative minds, walkers, bakers, fundraisers, and storytellers, we thank you!

A special thank you to Heather Hersperger and Nicholas Lodge for the countless hours, resources, inspiration, and vision the two of you have provided for the Jojo community and each and every endeavor. Jojo’s story would not have the phenomenal impact that it has had, if not for the two of you. In the next few months it will be my privilege to further introduce these two amazing people to the Jojo community and share all that has been going on behind the scenes…

In closing, when I ponder 2020, it will not be a resolve of resolutions. 2020 is an open invitation for you and me to take the next step forward into Jojo’s legacy and storyline and see where it leads. As I write this, we are in the grass roots of establishing the official Live Like JoJo Foundation as a non-profit, here to serve its community. We will soon share more details: the purpose and vision of our organization, invitations for initiatives, upcoming events, and the opportunity to be one of our Founding Donors.

My deepest gratitude to my family, Jojo’s family: Jon, Justin, Jackson, and Jeremiah…for filling my heart, pacing my steps, and for joining hands with me in sharing Jojo’s legacy.

❤️Thank you Jojo for being you..for a world in which you were a part…now shines a light that will forever warm my heart.