A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had washed up during a terrible storm. As she came to each starfish, she would  gently pick it up and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.

She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”

The girl seemed  momentarily crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and tossed it into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied,

“Well, I made a difference to that one!”

The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought for a long moment about what she had done and said.

Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved.

- adapted from “The Star Thrower” by Loren C. Eiseley


Diagnosed at birth with cystic fibrosis, Jessica quickly understood the toll that this disease would take upon her body.  Despite her own daily struggles, she revelled in helping others.  Her spirit is evidenced by her frequent references to this favorite short story: