MARICOPA — After the death of their daughter, Jerney Ray Placer, the Placer family held a balloon release near the family’s home in her honor.

Seventeen-month-old Jerney died in her sleep on May 19, 2017. The cause of death is still unknown. Her godparents, Yessika Diaz and David French, donated new children’s books to the local library in her memory on Monday.

“Jerney liked reading,” said Diaz. “I felt that a way to honor her memory was to provide books to other children.”

Born on December 7, 2015, Jerney and her twin sister, Jersey, were adopted by the Placer family when they were just weeks old.

However, at the age of 17 months, Jerney had already experienced her fair share of health problems. Diagnosed with a cerebral cyst, a hole in her heart, and sleep apnea, Jerney spent most of her life shuttling between doctor’s appointments and getting medical tests such as MRIs done.

Despite the ample amount of tests she went through, Diaz said that she was never fussy, except at dinner time, her favorite time of the day.

Yet, doctors couldn’t seem to figure out just what exactly was wrong with Jerney. They speculated that her health issues may have had something to do with the background of her biological parents.

A drug addict, Jerney’s biological mother was using drugs during her pregnancy, something that doctors confirmed did get into Jerney’s system.

Jerney’s father, John Placer, believes that it was Jerney who absorbed most the drugs in her mother system, which kept her older twin from experiencing the same kinds of health complications.

“That was her journey,” he said. “She was brave and absorbed [the drugs] for her sister.”

Placer said the twins were practically inseparable, so much so that the family had taken to using purple and pink clothing items, like ribbons, to tell them apart. Pink was typically used to identify Jersey, while purple was the color associated with Jerney. The two sisters could be typically seen holding hands together and were what Placer describes as “double trouble.”

Although the loss has been hard on the family, Placer says he’s thankful to the community for the outpouring of support they’ve received during this time.

A GoFundMe account has been established to help the family cover expenses during this time. For more information, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/placer-family-memorial-fund

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