Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Somber Saturday......Longie and Mena

I awoke Saturday morning and confirmed by the newspapers that Jason Long was the man pulled out of the river after parking his oil delivery and jumping in to the Susquehanna River earlier this week.  Jason's son and my son were on the same soccer teams and Jason coached in our baseball league.

I never really knew Jason other than donating toward his battle with leukemia.  I lost a very good friend to disease back in 2000 and knew the hell you and your family go through for treatment.

A cancer survivor myself, it can be rough going through treatment then tack on additional surgeries and the like. I know a few people with this experience.  As a survivor, I may have asked Jason once how he was doing and that was at our first meeting.  My experience was documented in the media while Jason's ordeal needed fundraisers.

With youth sports these days, often teams and players are picked randomly rather than being from the same neighborhood.  One kid could be your best teammate in basketball and your worst enemy in baseball.  It also doesn't give the parents a time to get to know each other as well.

I traveled to Shamokin Dam on Saturday with my youngest to do some spring-related shopping less than mile from rescuers pulled Jason from the river.  I met a young women named Mena Noll who was at Tractor Supply raising awareness for the Children's Cancer Recovery Foundation and Toxic Free Kids.  Mena was at the "Horse of Hope, Hand for Hand campaign.

Mena has been fighting for her son who had an inoperable brain tumor but is slowly on his way to recovery.  She pointed out that environmental factors have much to do with childhood cancers.  She also talked about kids being treated for cancer but not having family present due to financial hardships.   Listening about the story of her son and the heartache her family had been through is touching to say the least. 

In this day and age, listening is something we all can do.  Through years of training, I have been taught that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.  It also happens when the reasons for dying outweigh the reasons for living.  All this can happen in a matter of minutes. Hinting that this is a coward's way out is totally BS.  None of us were in Jason's shoes that afternoon.

I extend my prayers and condolences to Jason's family especially his wife and son.  My hope is that someone or others may be able to find the strength and help that they need get through a tough time. For me, his big smile will be missed.

Ed Washuta

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