This is the story of a boy named Jimmy Busey and his mother Teri, and how events in their lives led to the name of Tu Nidito.
Jimmy Busey was born in July of 1986. At the age of five, he had just started Kindergarten when he was diagnosed here in Tucson with a cancer called a primitive neuroectodermal tumor. This diagnosis was reached after a number of lengthy hospital stays, during which Jimmy was subjected to many invasive and painful tests. Although all of these steps were taken in the interest of saving Jimmy’s life, imagine for a moment the incredible impact these events had on an active, growing five-year-old. Being removed from the comfort of a daily routine, the safety of the home and the company of family and friends to receive medical care places children under terrific mental and emotional stress during a time when they are already feeling physically sick.
A child’s world suddenly seems to spin out of control, and the framework of family, schoolmates, and play is replaced by the unfamiliar environment of the hospital, its professional staff, and a lot of physical discomfort. Near the end of Jimmy’s first week in the hospital, after he had been X-rayed, and scanned and probed and tested, Jimmy’s mother Teri could tell that although he was anxious to leave the hospital, he had been so deeply affected by the sudden changes in his life that he was apprehensive about returning home. In an effort to reassure him, she promised to create a special place for Jimmy in the living room of their home, in the corner of their sectional couch. A few pillows, his favorite blanket, some toys, the controls for the VCR and his Nintendo game, and a spot that was especially for Jimmy. He and his mother called it his “little nest”, and Jimmy’s concerns about coming home vanished.
Teri quit her job to devote all of her time and energy to his care, and the financial strains and the logistical considerations involved in getting Jimmy back and forth to the hospital resulted in moving their household several times during his illness. But, no matter where they lived, Jimmy’s “nest” was a constant feature of the home environment — THE place where he knew he was always safe and in control. Despite the efforts of his chemotherapy and other treatments, Jimmy had the courage to return to school to enter the First Grade. But every day after school he couldn’t wait to get back home to the comfort of “the nest,” and it was a place Jimmy always longed to return during his sometimes lengthy hospital stays. When the doctors said there was nothing more they could do to save his life, Jimmy spent his last days there at home, with his mother, in his little nest.
He died 19 months after his cancer was first discovered, the week before he would have completed First Grade. As health professionals and concerned members of the Tucson community began developing support services for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families, a name was sought. The thought of Jimmy’s little nest was ever present in Teri’s mind. It was Jimmy’s grandmother who suggested the Spanish phrase “Tu Nidito” meaning “your little nest.” They knew they had found a name that would convey the mission and the spirit of Tu Nidito in a beautiful way.
Written by Mark Johnston, as told by Teri Busey for Teri Busey for Tu Nidito’s Blessing Ceremony.