Kicking it for Jason

Jason Thompson's Battle with Cancer

Early in the morning of February 11, 2010, Jason passed away

JASON SCOTT THOMPSON                                                                         1/23/81  -   2/11/10


A year ago when Jason thought he had sciatic nerve problems, we never imagined what the next 9 months would have in store for him.  This year was agonizing for Jason and I cannot even believe how he could endure so much and still keep a level of grace and kindness in the midst of it all. I never heard him complain or say why me.  I have always been so proud to stand next to him and say I was his mother.   I liked who he was, how he conducted himself and the integrity he had.  He was so easy to be around and had such a nice air about him. He was so kind and thoughtful to me and to others all the way to the end.  He would always say thank you or make sure to shake your hand.  A small wave, if that was all he could do, and at the end it was a faint nod.  I would tell him that I was so blessed that God gave him to me.

 We did not have the typical mother/son relationship; it was so much more than I could ever ask for.   We were great friends.

 Jason moved to Santa Rosa, Florida in 2004 to start a new life.   In April 2007 I moved down to help Jason with his new business and was very happy at his invitation to do so.  We shared a condo during this time, but after years apart it was as if we were two friends sharing expenses and not so much a mother/son relationship.  I have been so lucky to spend every day with him these last three years and to experience the amazing man he had grown up to be.   Writing the word amazing brings up a memory of a decision made a few years ago.   I really should say Jason was awesome as he and his brother Jerry would joke with their competitive natures to decide which one of them was more amazing and should have the title Mr. Amazing.  In brotherly love they deemed Jason, Mr. Awesome and Jerry, Mr. Amazing. 

 I feel the world has lost an awesome person who would have continued to make a huge difference for many years.   I cannot believe the difference he made in 29 years.   But maybe he still will.

 It has been asked of me often during this past year?, How do you keep doing this day after day for months, or don't forget to take time for yourself.  When I would leave to take time for myself I would ask myself what do I want to do and it would always be?   I want to be with Jason. 

My heart was always saying to me to spend every second with him no matter what.  I didn't want to miss an opportunity for a hug or to share a thought or just tell him I loved him.

I know he appreciated me being there even if it was only to silence the IV beeping.   He was really tired of that noise and on a few occasions he proceeded to take the IV flow tube out and try to fix it himself.  I told him the nurses would not be happy to see this when they walked into the room but he did not seem to care.  He would try to flick the air bubbles out of the line as he had seen the nurses do so many times.  I think he just wanted to have something to do to help.   It was a nice sign for me to see him take interest in doing something even if he wasn't supposed to and I was glad to see the nurses didn't scold him too much.

 I knew when he became healthy again I would have all the time in the world to sleep and do things for myself.  My two sons have been my whole life and I am not afraid to say so.  What else is there?  In the scheme of life we strive for success and we seem to be trying to get something?  When we get old all we really want is family.  I just chose to want family first and strive for only that.  The rest is secondary. 

After having this happen to Jason I am so glad I did things the way I did and chose to spend every possible second with him.  I do not regret any sleepless night or any day of work I missed or the money I did not make.   I would do it all over again??????????? I feel blessed to have been able to be there and that it was an honor to help him.

 It is so sad that he cannot fulfill the dreams he had for his life.  He so wanted to be a father and was looking forward to meeting someone, getting married and having his own family.  He loved children and would have been the most amazing father.  He had a great heart and the kindness and patience to be just that.

What I have wanted most ever since I could remember was to raise a family, enjoy my old years with my children coming home with grandchildren and having a house filled with pictures on the walls.  I would tell Jason and Jerry over the years that this was my dream.

This past May on Mother's day Jason made 3 large photo collages for me to start this collection for my house of pictures.  I cried so hard when he gave these to me because he was already in so much pain at that time but he still managed to put this together for me.   He always was so kind and thoughtful.   He would call if I was gone too long just to make sure I was alright.  Some days he would light candles and have classical music on when I got home from work if he knew I was having a bad day. 

But things changed so quickly after that Mothers Day and we found ourselves spending most of our life in Jacksonville away from home.     One thing I want to express to you all is that I'm sorry if you ever felt bad about not hearing back from emails or phone calls you made to him.  Most of the time it took all of his energy just to get through the next minute. 


In August the Drs. said we could go home for a few weeks to give Jason some recovery time after all his chemo and his extended hospital stay in June and July.   To pack and get things in order for an indefinite stay in Jacksonville since  they felt very strongly Jason should not be more than 5 minutes away from the Mayo at any given time because of how ill he was. 

 I arranged for an open house during this time for his soccer kids and their parents to come and say hello.  Everyone commented on how good he looked  (even though he only weighed 110 lbs. ) and that he seemed to be doing really good.  Actually he was really struggling but he didn't want anyone to know.  He would ask how YOU were doing and when you asked how he was, he would say he was just fine.     There is a picture of Jason with his last soccer team that he coached in the video overhead.   I knew he really struggled during this season with pain and really had a hard time going to practices and games.   I received an email a few days ago from the Head of Inter98 and US98 Soccer that was sent out to teams/parents  in NW Florida and I would like to read you this email.    

Christian of US98 Soccer writes, "This Spring 2010 World Cup Season is dedicated to the life and volunteerism that the recently deceased Jason Thompson exemplified while he was living here in South Walton and coaching with US98 Soccer. Jason had some simple rules to his coaching, and I think his Players loved and respected him for those. Be considerate, listen, try something new and learn from it, and then eventually teach what you have learned to others, these were all qualities he practiced and was successful in implementing. Jason knew it wasn't how you started or even how many wins you had at the end of the season that was the measure of a good coach, players, and team?.., it was rather how everyone ended the season, both individually and together."

"It was Jason's last team that he coached that was the greatest example of the success of this approach. All season long, his Team battled hard but always fell short, usually by no more than 1 or 2 goals, and they ended the season in the lowest bracket for the playoffs at the end of the regular season. But, you could tell they were getting closer to achieving, individually and as a team, in each match. And as the playoffs came into full swing, Jasons kids showed no mercy as they discarded their first playoff foe and rose to as high a position as attainable, and won their final match against a much higher seeded team, with a goal in the final minute of overtime, to finish in Third Place as Players, Parents, and Coaches rushed the field. Jason, unknowingly already infected with cancer throughout his body, showed up late and coached from lying on the ground much of that match, but the pride and joy he had for his team and how far they had come had to be a very staisfying and hopefully pain-relieving moment. We could all do much worse than to follow his approach. Please keep him and his coaching legacy in your thoughts this season."

When he can home that afternoon, he never mentioned that he has to lie on the

ground to coach or complain of any pain at all.  He only said that his team finally won a game and how happy everyone was and that it was so great to see the kids so happy.  He then took extra pain medicine and went straight to bed.


We left for Mayo the next morning.

It was the same scenario in November when his brother came to visit.  I had planned a surprise weekend for Jason to pick up his spirits.  What a great surprise it was.  I went to pick up his brother Jerry at the airport in the morning while Jason was sleeping.  When we arrived back home, I woke him up and then Jerry walked into the room.  You could tell he could not believe his eyes and was trying to figure out what was going on.   He looked at me in disbelief that I kept this a secret as he knew how terrible I was at keeping anything secret when it came to my kids.  I would buy them an early Christmas present and would end up giving it to them by the evening.  I could not even keep it for one day.  I so enjoyed to see them happy.

 Jacksonville has an air show in November and I wanted to surprise Jason and fly Jerry down for that weekend so they could sit on the balcony and watch the jets fly by.  Spend some guy time and maybe walk to the festival area with all the vendors and hundreds of people.  I thought this would be a great time to forget a little what he had been thru and what lied ahead.  Maybe feel like a person instead of a patient and do some brotherly things.   I had suggested renting scooters and buzzing around.  I hoped it would give Jason a feeling of freedom and to give him control of something since he could no longer drive.   He was quite weak and after I watched them drive off I wondered why did I suggest this?  What had I done!!!!  He was on a lot of medication for pain and was not as quick as usual and you also don't have to wear helmets.  My stomach hurt for about 5 minutes but this knot in my stomach was soon was replaced with the knowing how wonderful it must feel for Jason to have this freedom after all these months.  I just prayed extra hard all weekend and trusted he would be OK.  I knew Jerry would be extra careful and watchful of him.   There is a picture in the lobby of Jason and his brother Jerry on scooters.   They had such a good time and you can tell by Jason's face he was so happy to have shared that with Jerry.  But I knew he was in a lot of pain and much discomfort but you would never know it.  Jerry commented on how the whole weekend he never talked about being sick or how he felt.  It was like just another day, having coffee, going for breakfast, talking about computers, technology and movies. 

I was hoping this surprise weekend would lift his spirits enough to face the bone marrow transplant scheduled a few weeks away.  The preparation for transplant was to start with spinal chemo the day after Jerry left.  We both were very scared of what lied ahead and the pain Jason would endure.  That weekend with Jerry was the last time he was outside, at a restaurant, at a mall, or watching a movie.

He had surgery the day after Jerry left and a spinal chemo treatment the very next day.   He became very ill after this and we ended up in emergency that weekend. 

He had another spinal chemo the following Monday and became very very ill after that one also and we ended up in emergency again.   He was scheduled for 4 of them prior to transplant but for some reason he was not tolerating them at all like he had before in June and July and was deteriorating very quickly.  He was in excruciating pain that was not handled with pills so they admitted him to bone marrow floor and moved everything up to get transplant done ASAP. 

So once again the computer would stay closed and the phone was in the drawer.  When Jason felt well enough to get these items out it would only last for 5 minutes or so as he didn't have the energy and emotional strength to carry on correspondence with anyone.  His transplant was on December 16 and by then it was just too difficult for him anything.   It became more and more difficult for me to write updates as well.  There were too many things going wrong and every day was a rollercoaster of emotions for Jason and me and also the Mayo Staff.   Things just never went the way they were supposed to.  If there was a 1% chance of a side effect, Jason would get it.  The staff at Mayo had never seen anything like it.

Please know that we shared all of the cards, emails and read the, comments on the blogs to Jason.  All of the things that each and every one of you did made his time at Mayo much more tolerable and really did touch his heart.  I would read him emails and postings on the web page. I taped the posters of benefits and cards that were sent on his door so he knew people had not forgotten after such a long time.  When we would tell Jason about the fundraisers or other events going on he was often moved to tears.  Often times these things would come at such necessary moments.  Providing a moment of much needed joy and a smile.   It touched Jason's heart  as well as all of us to see the care and concern for him. 

To see kindness of others on behalf of your child is the most amazing feeling.

It has only been a few days since we have been without him and it is unbearable.   I know Jason took the past year one day at a time and that most of the time it was unbearable for him.  I will try to have the same grace and courage he showed this past year, to make it thru life without him, in honor of him.    I know the only reason I am standing here reading this to you today is that God's hand is on me and giving me this strength.  It is really how I have made it thru the whole past year. 

It is hard for us to comprehend the amount of giving and care we were constantly receiving.   It is so strange for us to receive this continued care and support still today even though Jason is no longer with us. 

May God bless you all and thank you for coming.    If you ever has a memory of something about Jason , please take the time to write it on Jasons web page, or write it in his book before you leave.  These memories that you have really do help heal our hearts and  bring smiles to all of us.  It is an honor to be here in front of you today.  Thank you again for coming.


Kim Helder.  Jason's Mother


Jason was so ill most of the time and phone calls were not always returned or emails responded to.  Please do not take this as if he didn't know what was going on and all that you were doing.  He was just too ill to do anything other than fight to survive.    He had not been on his computer for months or even looked at the phone which was now in his hospital drawer.  I knew he was just exhausted.  I cannot even begin to explain what Jason lived thru that last nine months but I am glad I was there every day and second of it.   What a wonderful community of people and I cannot express how this has made me feel I would read him the emails that were sent to me and tape the cards from the children on his hospital door so he could see them.  The fundraiser posters I also taped on his door so he could see that he was not alone in this journey that people were thinking of him.