There are exceptional children who by their maturity in the face of adversity are an inspiration to us all! These same children by virtue of their strength and good nature are rewarded with a wealth of love and kindness from all they encounter. Such a child was Jacob, who as our patient influenced us to become more caring, sympathetic and better humans. He brought out the best in people – the nurses, technicians, doctors, etc. Such a life, despite its suffering and brevity is a very meaningful one. I will always remember him.
-Paul, Counselor, Children’s Hospital Pittsburgh (1995)
I have known many ill and injured children they are all special in some way. Their suffering touches at very deep places in our hearts. But, every now and then a very special little guy comes along, a person who has the indefinable special gift to engage everybody he meets. Jacob was such a child. He was quick to joke and smile even on ‘bad days.’ I can honestly say that I never heard him complain albeit he certainly had earned the right to do so many times over. He wanted to know about his care; he wanted to understand. This is something that is not common in kids his age. He never quit, he never let anyone around him quit. He had a certain attitude that said that somehow things would work out. The most inspiring thing about Jacob was not any of the things I described about how he dealt with his own illness. Jacob’s outstanding characteristic was his compassion. He always worried about the other kids in the hospital. He seemed to have a harder time accepting their suffering than in accepting his own. This is not a small matter, to be able to look past one’s self and see other people. Many adults don’t have this wonderful ability, this marvelous gift, perhaps that which signifies we are at our very best as human beings. This ability to truly care for and about other people is found in too few places. It was always found wherever Jacob was. I miss him.”
-Dr. Melvin, Doctor of Oncology, Children’s Hospital Pittsburgh (1995)