We have the tough task of saying good bye to a young man who has joined us on the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon for more than 20 years.
Jason Walker passed away Monday night. Muscular dystrophy finally got the best of him, but it never got the best of his spirit or his heart.
"Jason, how many years has it been that you've come out to help us on the MDA telethon?"
Jason joined us just six months ago on the 2008 telethon.
Jason was diagnosed with Duchennes Muscular Dystrophy when he was five. He needed a wheelchair a few years later and more recently counted on tubes and tanks to survive.
But Jason always found the strength to join us on Labor Day
and encourage others with neuro-muscular diseases to fight the fight and encourage the rest of us to treasure each and every day.
"Every day's a new challenge. Some are better than others, but I just take every day one day at a time. You can't let it get you down. I mean hopefully, one day, they can find a cure," he said during a recent telethon interview.
Jason was an avid - no, let's say rabid - FSU fan. You would often find him on the sidelines at practice. Former Nole Andre Wadsworth once said "It's a good feeling to know that there's fans like that out there."
And one of the happiest moments of his life came on his 21st birthday, when everyone at the kickoff luncheon surprised him by singing happy birthday.
Jason would celebrate many more birthdays before losing his long battle, a battle he described in a book called "Missing My Body" which was published a couple of years ago.
"I figured it would give people a real perspective on what it's like to live my life and maybe give them inspiration to always stay positive," Jason said.
Each time this dastardly disease threw Jason a curve ball, he bounced back. He tried to do it one more time but, Monday night he passed away at the age of 31.
We can only hope he is now free to get up out of his chair and run.
A trust fund has been set up at Thomasville National Bank to help Jason's family with medical bills and funeral expenses.
Jason Walker Memorial Fund
Thomasville National Bank
301 N. Broad Street
Thomasville, GA 31792
Wednesday, 6 - 8pm
Allen and Allen Funeral Home
110 West Hansell Street
Eastside Baptist Church
220 Colton Avenue