Raising Jess: A Story of Hope

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Full Summary

In 1982, Vickie Rubin faced a unique challenge in Buffalo, New York: giving birth to her daughter, Jess, while dealing with chickenpox. Her story is a compelling mix of vulnerability and strength.

At first, Jess appears to be like any other child. However, as time goes on, Vickie realizes a truth that sets her family on a unique path.

Raising Jess: A Story of Hope details the emotional journey Vickie and her husband Mitch undergo due to Jess’s rare condition. It highlights their quest for answers and the discovery of Jess’s rare genetic deletion, affecting fewer than 1,000 people in the US.

Vickie shares significant family moments, including their decision to have more children, Jess’s bat mitzvah, and high school graduation. Especially moving is her account of the Covid-19 pandemic when she had to keep her distance from Jess, who is now an adult in a group home.

This book is more than a mere chronicle of events; it’s a testament to a family’s enduring spirit. Through Jess’s story, it ignites hope for many. It delves into the complexities of caregiving, the stress on relationships, and pivotal family decisions. At its heart, the book celebrates love and resilience in the face of adversity. As you turn its pages, prepare to be inspired, moved, and forever transformed by a memoir that underscores the limitless love and courage of the human spirit.

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To My Readers

Raising Jess: A Story of Hope unveils a deeply personal journey that will resonate with many of my readers..

Through this memoir, I share the raw emotions and trials our family endured after Jessica’s rare diagnosis. But it’s not just about challenges; it also celebrates the triumphs, unwavering love, and resilience that binds families together.

Remember, you’re never alone. Each chapter stands as a testament to the strength and adaptability of the human spirit in the face of obstacles. My hope is that Raising Jess offers both comfort and inspiration, humor and support, reinforcing the idea that we can always choose hope and positivity.

With warmth,


Who Is This Book For?

Raising Jess: A Story of Hope serves as both a guide and a support for those navigating life’s big challenges, particularly raising a child with multiple and complex disabilities. Whether you’re a parent, sibling, grandparent, caregiver, friend  or medical professional seeking to understand the parent perspective, this book extends, awareness, encouragement and support. 

Vickie Rubin delves into her family’s journey, revealing how they discovered strength, love, advocacy skills and resilience during difficult times. Ideal for anyone intrigued by the remarkable ways families come together to overcome challenges, this book offers uplifting insights. Step into the world of the Rubin family and unearth the enduring essence of hope and determination.


2022 Gold Medal Winner in Non-Fiction – Memoir Genre (Readers’ Favorite)

Best Book Awards: Finalist for Inspirational Memoir (AmericanBookFest.com)

Finalist for Non-Fiction (Book Excellence)


“‘Raising Jess’ is a frank, perceptive, and insightful remembrance. Rubin writes with clarity and thoughtful introspection; the author’s approach is courageously exploratory, making for a truly enlightening read.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Vickie Rubin’s memoir, ‘Raising Jess: A Story of Hope’, is a heartwarming, compassionate story about a mother’s (and father’s) enduring love through difficult and challenging times. The author leads the reader on a journey through Jess’s life, right up to the growing concern of the global pandemic and how it might affect this charming, child with special needs-turned-young woman. This story will bring tears to the eyes of readers as they are educated and enraptured by one family’s journey with a child with special needs.”

-Readers’ Favorite

“This is an inspiring story of tragedy and triumph, brilliantly and powerfully told. I highly recommend it.”

-Ashley Adams, author

“This is a triumphant tale.”

-Cathy Shields, author

“A heartwarming, compassionate story. This story will bring tears to the eyes of readers as they are educated and enraptured by one family’s journey with a child with special needs.”

-Emily-Jane Hills Orford, author

Reader Reviews

“First, I want to thank Vickie Rubin for giving me her book, ‘Raising Jess: A Story of Hope‘…The book is not only educational but also touching and uplifting, illustrating how much Jess is loved by everyone who meets her...Even more touching, though, was the deep love between Vickie and Jess that comes through in the story. 

Interestingly, Jess and I have something in common: we both went to Robert Warner Rehabilitation Center as kids. I have hemidystrophy and scoliosis. We also attended Williamsville high schoolsThe book also explores the feelings of Jess’s younger siblings about having a sister with a disability. This was enlightening for me; I hadn’t really considered how my own disability impacted my siblings...‘Raising Jess: A Story Of Hope’ is a 5-star read that you need to add to your TBR list.”

-Heidi Lynn’s Book Reviews
The above review has been edited for clarity. Original review on Heidi Lynn’s Book Reviews

“This is a wonderful story of hope, perseverance, and, most of all, love. ‘Raising Jess’ is a powerful, heart-breaking, and joyful account of one family’s challenging journey raising their daughter with multiple developmental disabilities. But the real beauty of this book is that it is relative to each and every one of us, whether we are a parent or not, whether we know someone with disabilities or not. The message is about facing the challenges in our lives with acceptance, courage, and most of all, unconditional love. I truly love this book.”

-Deborah Rapp (★★★★★ rating on Amazon)

“This book is a far cry from my favorite genre of murder mystery, but what a breath of fresh air. In a time of constant dismal news, this book brings hope for mankind. It was a reminder to all, of how kindness, understanding and love can help lessen hardships. It was beautifully written and made me feel like part of Jess’s life. She was truly blessed to be born into such a strong, loving family. I truly feel that this book is the kind of book that should be in school curriculum. Too educate and inspire the younger and some of the older generations. Maybe that could be Vickie’s new task.”

-Patti Hollander (★★★★★ rating on Amazon)

“This book shows what it’s like to raise a disabled daughter and gave me an insider look at what it might have been like for my family to raise me a bit. I was born autistic and while Jess has a different disability I can relate well to her story.”

-Anonymous (★★★★★ rating on Amazon)

I loved this book, and couldn’t put it down! It was written in an easy-to-read style, like a conversation with an old friend. She shares her story of raising their daughter born with a disability, before there were clear answers and help for such parents. She was a trailblazer in research and education for other parents, and has dedicated her life to giving her daughter what most parents desire to give theirs; support and opportunities for a full, rich life; and by all accounts, she has succeeded! It is a story of the struggles and challenges, but also one of hope, encouragement, and joy, told in a way that kept it real, and made me smile throughout the story. Thanks for sharing a glimpse into your family’s adventure of ‘Raising Jess’, Vickie!

-Kim (★★★★★ rating on Amazon)

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