Rik's Ramblings

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Never Ever Give Up!

I was saddened to hear that Jan-Willem passed away last Wednesday. My thoughts are with Geert and family.

In case you've missed the banner at the top of every page on my site here's an excerpt from Jan Willem's JWHouse site:

At the age of 14, JW Knapen had a normal life - he was a freshman in high school, played the bongos for the choir, enjoyed drawing and sculpting, and was the loving big brother and oldest son of a close-knit Belgian family. But over Thanksgiving break in 2002, JW began to have seizures and was quickly diagnosed with three different brain tumors. Over the last two years, 16-year-old JW Knapen has shown courage and grace in his grueling fight against brain cancer, enduring surgery, radiation and chemotherapy treatments.

In April 2004, when a virulent, inoperable new brain tumor was discovered, JW decided to focus on how he might help others with medical struggles of their own. He envisioned building a house near Kaiser Hospital, in Santa Clara, California where families can stay with their loved ones during long hospitalizations. He wanted this house to be a place for brothers and sisters to talk quietly; a place for moms and dads and grandparents to be able to eat together; a place to talk with other families that are facing similar challenges — a place that feels like a “home away from home”.

On Wednesday, August 3rd, Jan-Willem was called home to Heaven. Surrounded by family and friends, his passing was peaceful, beautiful, and overflowing with love. In his final days, JW reminded us about the “simple” things in life – how a hug, a kiss, a smile – speak louder than any words. He reminded us to cherish one another, to embrace each moment without being afraid of what the next may bring, and to believe that together we can make a difference in this world. As JW’s smile shines on us from above, he asks us to carry on the kindness, humor, courage, and hope that allowed him to live life to its fullest.

JW’s compassion and determination to help others and his promise to "Never ever give up" remained consistent throughout his life and his death as well. Near the end of his life, JW was pleased to learn that he would be able to donate his brain for research – with the hope that he would be able to contribute to finding a cure for brain cancer. And, although JW will be missed, his legacy will live on through the JW House and the help he’ll provide for others who will need support as they fight illness in the future.

The marvelous news is that so far JWHouse has raised $500,000 towards JW's goal of building a house for families of patients at Keiser's Santa Clara hospital.

Welcome to the JW House Web Site


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