Obituary: Jordyn Driver
Jordyn Versiellen Driver was born with HIV in Las Vegas, NV on March 9, 1990. She missed her birthday party by 67 days. She passed on January 4, 2020 of a heart attack. Her death was preceded by her mother, KariAnn Driver, in 1993 and her father, David Wesley Driver, on February 7, 2019. He did not have HIV and died of natural causes.
Jordyn was sick all of her life. At the age of eleven she had brain surgery for a growth due to Valley Fever Fungus in 2001. In the same year on a Girl Scout trip, she had a ‘Flight for Life’ from Kansas to Denver, due to Toxic Shock Syndrome. That flight was not free. Even with family help it took five years to pay for those events. All the while other illnesses invaded her body.
In 2005, she developed extremely painful stomach problems, which often required weekly 35-mile trips to the ER at Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs. That was joined by constant seizures, heart problems, migraines, a lung condition, blood clots and assorted regular illnesses.
In the beginning of her life she received treatment in Las Vegas, NV and for three years The National Institute of Health in Bethesda, MD. In 2001, she transferred to The Children’s Hospital of Colorado, HIV Clinic under the care of Dr. Betsy McFarland and Nurse Practitioner and friend, Emily Barr. At age 25, she was transferred to the University of Colorado Hospital. That did not stop the dedicated ladies of Children’s from keeping an ever-watchful eye out for her. Local medical staff of the area was included with Dr. Angela Ammon as the brilliant chief guiding light in Eagle. At the time of her death she had 10 doctors and therapists for counseling, exercising and diet. Jordyn daily took 15 prescriptions and 3 doctor ordered over-the-counter medications. Blood tests were sometimes weekly or numerous times a day as well many labs, MRI’s and everything you could throw the book at. At an early age, Jordyn was aware that HIV was preventable. She played an active role in HIV education by giving lectures to groups of young people. She was interested in the science of HIV and took part in countless research projects to further medical knowledge of the disease.
She was blessed with a strongly united family caregiver team. Ever at her side as the chief organizer and daily hands on person was her grandmother, Versiellen Driver. The family move to Colorado was the result of the willing assistance offered by her Aunt Johanna and Uncle DJ Jensen. They also provided hands on care, assisted with her fashion plate days, handling assorted chores like picking up meds and transportation. They created a supportive work environment allowing her father very flexible working conditions. Yet she had a great thirst for life, ever ready to take on a new adventure. But years of being too sick to accomplish these dreams took a toll on her. The death of her father was almost more than she could bear. He was her ever-constant friend.
Her activities included the organizing and participating in the family’s company business (DJensen Electric Inc.) bowling team, exhibiting art and photographs as a charter member of CAGEE, playing flute in the Eagle Valley Middle School band, performing in a number of theatrical productions and singing in the United Methodist Church of Eagle Valley choir. She was a board member on Red Ribbon Project and Children’s Hospital Youth Advisory Board. She loved music, horseback riding, fishing, and milk shakes with her grandma.
Jordyn was given a social promotion in 6th grade because she was too weak to attend school. At the suggestion of Jerry Santoro, the school principal, she would, on occasion, go to school lunch to maintain some social outlet. The end of 7th grade caught her up. When she entered Eagle Valley High School, the school district wanted her to take a 5- year course to complete high school studies. However, she was adamant that she wanted to graduate with her class and that she did. Great support from her teachers especially Judy Cook and Louayne Gates helped her achieve that goal. She was awarded a scholarship to Colorado Mountain College.
Her social high point and pride of her young years was membership in Girl Scout Troop #292 under the loving direction of Leaders Ann Olin and Cynthia Sibley. Her leaders said she was the most unjaded member. Anything that was suggested to do, she was onboard even if it meant cleaning up trash in the grocery store parking lot. She was a Girl Scout Cookie selling Tiger. At age 11 she sold over 200 boxes … another year over 500 … the final year over 800. She had discovered the communication power of a fax machine as her partner. Her family … and we know that Jordyn would agree … can never fully thank and express the value of those years enough to Cynthia and Ann.
She had another team in her corner, the Slocum family. Many happy visits were spent in California and later in Florida. Blessedly, her health was quite well during those visits. She got to experience what normal family life is like. Her Great Aunt Patricia was an early team member, coming to visit often from California to Las Vegas bearing toys, pretty dresses and fresh produce sold along the California Highway.
Jordyn is survived by her Grandmother, Versiellen Driver, Aunt Johanna Noel Jensen, Uncle DJ (Don) Jensen, Aunt Michelle Marie Sl cum, Uncle Steve Edward Slocum, Cousin Steven James Slocum, Cousin Jessica Marie (Slocum) Fergozo, her husband Raul Fergozo, Great Aunt Patricia Lush, Jordyn’s best friend, Cynthia Sibley and Jordyn’s estranged Grandfather, Delbert Wesley Driver.
Jordyn was a medical victory. She was God’s miracle.
GRANDMA’S PRAYER She is with God. It is His will. She has no pain. We seek peace.
The Celebration of Life service for Jordyn Versiellen Driver will be held at the United Methodist Church of
Eagle Valley located at Howard and 2nd, Eagle, CO on Saturday, July 11, at 11 am. A light lunch will follow.
This Celebration of Life service is open to the community to remember and to honor the smile, laugh, heart
and bravery of our precious Angel.