Jesse was born in July 2000 with retinoblastoma, a rare form of eye cancer that most often appears in children under five years of age. Jesse was only four months old when he began aggressive chemotherapy to treat retinoblastoma; but shortly after beginning treatment, his doctors discovered that the cancer had spread to his spinal fluid. At that point, Jesse was given a zero percent chance of survival.

Unwilling to give up the fight, Jesse's doctors at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto developed an experimental chemotherapy regime to specifically treat both cancers in Jesse. Jesse beat the odds and survived. His doctors declared him in remission in early 2001, however the chemotherapy that killed the cancer cells also destroyed his immune system. His only hope now was a bone marrow transplant. Hoping against hope, Jesse's family put forward his cord blood sample, and on April 19th, 2001, Jesse underwent the world's first successful bone marrow transplant using stem cells from his own umbilical cord blood, stored at Insception. After a long recovery, Jesse was discharged in June 2001, just before his first birthday.