Jesse Petersen, Founder of Genesis The.me Passes Away

Petersen Family
Petersen Family

Jesse Petersen, founder of Genesis The.me and Petersen Media Group, has passed away at the age of 38. Petersen had been battling Cystic Fibrosis for the past several years and suffered a massive lung bleed earlier today. He passed out before paramedics could reach him and could not be revived at the emergency room.

Petersen was on a double-lung transplant list with a lung allocation score of 38.859. The LAS is a score used to prioritize waiting list candidates based on a combination of wait list urgency and post-transplant survival. Last month, Petersen received the phone call he had been waiting for.

Unfortunately, the lungs were determined not to be in a suitable condition for transplant.

He shared his experience in a raw, emotional post that describes the highs and lows he felt that day. “While the day was an emotional roller coaster, with the highs being WAY up there, the lows were surprisingly mild,” Petersen said. “They just weren’t the right lungs, and this protected me from years of issues, so it’s all good. The call for the perfect lungs for me will come in God’s timing. I am content to wait.”

On July 2nd, a patient with a higher LAS score than Petersen’s was taken into surgery to receive a double-lung transplant. This made Petersen the highest priority pending a match was found but a match wasn’t found in time.

I did not have the opportunity to meet him in person. From those who knew him personally, Petersen was a great husband, father, and a caring individual who despite his medical situation, would help out the best way he could. There are two stories that highlight the kind of person he was. The first is a Twitter thread he published two days ago.

When you meet a 5 year-old who needs a heart and double-lung transplant but has been turned down everywhere, your situation doesn’t seem so bad. That family doesn’t care about politics, social class, keeping up with the Joneses, or whether their clothes match. They are enjoying life.

Because when it comes down to it, all we really need is to know our worth and love everyone else because they have equal worth. That doesn’t mean you have to agree with everyone, but you don’t have to seek out opposition or turmoil. Random acts of kindness rock.

Can you look over your life and say you’d be leaving those connected to you better off having known you? If not, start today.

The second is from his Facebook account about an encounter he had with a mother pushing her small boy in a wheelchair with a surgical mask on.

I finally got out of the house to go do a God & Country service followed by fireworks. While waiting to go outside, a mom I’d seen pushing a small boy in a wheelchair with a surgical mask and oxygen on him came over to me.

‘I just wanted to say how cool I think your double tank cart is. I’m going to call my supplier tomorrow to get one for our wheelchair.’

We started talking (most unlike me) and she said her son needed a heart and a double lung transplant… but they’ve been turned down everywhere, starting with the very forgiving Pittsburgh center.

‘I’m so sorry.’

[nodded her head with a pained look] ‘We’re just making the most of our time now.’

My heart broke. I’ve already lived 7 of his lifetimes. I’ve played sports, graduated from college, stood on the equator, married my best friend, and have two healthy boys.

So kick me the next time I complain about my wait, OK?

Members of the WordPress community are using social media to share memories, grieve, and pass along condolences to his family.

Petersen’s family has created a crowd-funding campaign to help offset funeral and medical expenses. Since its creation, the community has donated more than $12K of $20K. If you are able, please consider donating as Petersen was the sole provider of income for his family.

My deepest condolences go out to his friends and family. Petersen is survived by his wife and two sons.

Related Reading:

The Loss of One of Our Own

16 Comments


  1. May he rest in peace. 38 is just way too young…

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  2. Hadn’t heard of Jesse before this story. Very tragic and yes, much too young to deserve this. But his beautiful family and his positive attitude are extremely humbling, to say the least.

    Also, kudos to a guy who in just a few years or so figured out how to charge clients $5000 for “mini-projects” that don’t involve design or theme related work… wow! http://archive.is/fRAGb

    It brings up the issue of how more and more people are working online in remote roles. Life insurance aside, maybe it’s time to explore more about what happens to your online assets in case of emergency, esp. for solopreneurs like Jesse — unlike real assets, there are all kinds of passwords and other hurdles that can prevent loved ones from benefiting after someone has passed.

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    1. Many of the more popular password apps, like Dashlane (which I use), have the ability to set a person(s) who can request access of all data. The way this works is they send an email to the account provider, and if he doesn’t respond within a settable time period, the request is approved.

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    2. This bugs me also. 1st thing I made my clients owners of their domain name, leaving myself only as technical consultant, so if anything… at least they fully control their domain name.

      I also created a boilerplate doc to give to my clients with essential info:

      Important Account Information
      Domain name hosting:
      Hosting company:
      Domain name:
      Expiration date:
      Login name:
      Password:
      Owner’s Information (always keep owner’s information up to date!):
      Name:
      Address:
      Phone:
      Email:

      Web Site hosting:
      Hosting company:
      Login name:
      Password:

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  3. Tragedy, never met Jesse, but I heard lots of great things about him.

    He will be missed ?

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  4. RIP. I am humbled by some of his quotes.

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  5. I’m still shock. So young and doing very interesting things.

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  6. Very sad day in WordPress community. Jesse, you will be always in our hearts!

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  7. Thank you for sharing those awesome reflections on life from Jesse. Some deep wisdom.

    Can you look over your life and say you’d be leaving those connected to you better off having known you? If not, start today.

    If we were all to strive to leave a better world, how much better could this world be within a generation or two.

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  8. ‘Liking’ this post seems all wrong. Thank you for sharing the sad news. Sorry for the loss of your colleague.

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  9. Sounds like he was a person of rare quality condolences to his family.

    Brian

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  10. I happened upon this article and was awe struck in Jesse’s words. You see the boy he was speaking of was with me that night and are close friends. Much like a Jesse we wait for healing but sometimes healing does not
    come on this earth but I know Jesse is fully healed and with his Savior. Prayers for his family.

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    1. …and with his Savior.

      That’s the main goal of our life. In retrospect, all of our hardships will be justified to achieve this goal.

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  11. I was searching something else but stumbled upon this article. It is so shocking and sad. The post cannot be “Liked”; it’d be better to remove the button on this post.

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