Childhood Leukemia Story - Jason - 15 - A Tender Message

Jason Story of Child LeukemiaA TENDER MESSAGE

Getting Jason through the holidays feeling relatively well became our main objective. He started on chemotherapy in pill form to get his white count down and a second medication to prevent bleeding. Transfusions were needed every few days even with this drug.
On Sunday, December 23rd, Jason had another bad nosebleed that required a trip to the emergency room for platelets. ‘We were afraid he’d be admitted and unable to spend Christmas with us at home, but he responded to the treatment. We were on our way home in a few hours. Later that evening Becky and Dale arrived from Pennsylvania with their family, and others stopped by. Jason, feeling better, was delighted with all the visitors and quite talkative.
“I feel bad that everyone is so sad. People hug me and turn away with tears in their eyes. Why is everybody so upset? They talk about how great it is to know you are going to heaven but when they find out you are really going — and going soon — they feel bad. It’s not sad!”
“Jason,” I said, “You are absolutely right, but think if it were the other way around. We are all thinking of how much we will miss you.
“Yeah,” he said, “I guess so. I just wish people wouldn’t cry or feel sorry for me. It makes me feel bad.”
We all sat quietly. How could he possess such incredible strength and calm acceptance. He was not worried at all! “Great is thy faith” was all that kept coming before me. In answer to many prayers, Jason enjoyed Christmas. He had a ride in a neighbor’s Lambourghini — a real thrill — spent a nice day with his grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, and was feeling fabulous. We spent the afternoon playing games and enjoying each other. Over the next week Jason returned to the hospital for platelets several times but felt well enough to remain at home. The visiting relatives went home at the end of the week, not knowing if they would ever see Jason again. He understood and hugged them good-bye with great feeling.
Then he was on to the next project at hand. On Sunday December 30th, he was going to speak to the congregation at the Gospel Hall. He spent a lot of time thinking about what he wanted to say. Saturday evening he came into our bedroom to ask if he could have everyone sing after he spoke it.” “I found this hymn I really like, Mom. I really want to sing just before Sunday School the next day Jason took the platform. He pulled a stool over, stood on it behind the podium and began to speak: “If there’s anyone here that doesn’t know me my name is Jason Vitale. I’m here today to thank all the Christians who prayed for me and helped with all the problems with my medical things. I also want to talk to the younger people here and say that there’s an issue here that’s very important. The Lord gives us a gjft called salvation and it’s most important that when we’re young and in early ages we take the opportunity and get it settled. I know one thing that if I wasn’t saved and didn’t have the Lord’s salvation from when I was just five years old that I probably wouldn’t have been able to go through my operation and sickness the way I’ve done. He’s helped me and He’s always a Friend in troubles and any time we might be in pain or agony. If we’re all by ourselves in a radiation room or during an operation or anything we can always know that the Lord’s with us. He’s a Friend that will never leave us and it’s very important to get to know Him while you’re young and not to despise the issue. You should hurry up with this and not fool around with the subject and say that today I’ll do what I like to do with my sports and hobbies and I’ll leave salvation till tomorrow because it’s important and at any time in our life, especially at the end of life for older people and for younger people too. It’s important not to say that only old people die because anyone can die at any age. It’s up to the Lord. It’s all in His hands obviously. I think we should make sure that we’re not passing it by or letting it slip through ourfingers. We all know, even the youngest people here know that the world’s not looking very bright and it c probably not going to get much brighter. So I hope that you all don’t despise what the Lord’s trying to speak to you through. It might just be earthquakes or stories of people getting killed by car accidents and things. He’s trying to tell everybody in the world that they can’t fool around. It might be them someday and jf it is He’d hate to see their soul crash out into a horror—struck eternity where there’s no hope. That’s why hundreds of years ago He sent His Son to die on the cross so that we might have a place in heaven. I hope that from the youngest to the oldest person here makes sure they don’t despise this opportunity and makes sure they take the Lord’s salvation. Thanks a lot to all the Christians for their help to me. They’ve really been ummm ....It’s really something to know you have so many friends. Thanks a lot.”

Dinner after speaking at the Gospel Hall

Dinner after speaking at the Gospel Hall 

Then we sang — or tried to sing — Jason’s favorite hymn:
“I have a home above from sin and sorrow free.
A mansion which eternal love designed and built for me.
My Father’s gracious hand has built this blest abode;
From everlasting it was planned, my dwelling place with God.
My Savior precious blood has made my title sure.
He passed through death’s dark raging flood to make my rest secure.
The Comforter is come, the earnest has been given
He leads me onward to the home reserved for me in heaven.
Loved ones are gone before whose pilgrim days are done;
I soon shall greet them on that shore where partings are unknown.
But more than all, I long His glories to behold,
Whose smile fills all that radiant throng with ecstasy untold.
That bright, yet tender, smile, my sweetest welcome there,
Shall cheer me through the ‘little while’ I tarry for Him here.
Thy love, most gracious Lord, my joy and strength shall be,
Till Thou shalt speak the gladdening word that bids me rise to Thee.
And then, through endless days where all Thy glories shine,
In happier, holier strains I’ll praise the grace that made me Thine.”

Uncle Frank Procopio

Uncle Frank Procopio

No one made it through that hymn without breaking down. The reality of Jason’s words and the absolute peace in his manner as he talked about death left even the children aware that they had heard something very, very special. For his part, Jason was glad that he had been able to express what he felt, and pleased to have it behind him. We went home to a seafood dinner he had requested. Looking at him eating shrimp and smiling, one would never dream he was so ill.