In 2018, my life was flipped upside down after my wife (Valerie) was diagnosed with stage 4 Colon Cancer.
I was terrified for myself and my small family of four.
This was devastating news that completely rocked our world.
The Doctor in the hospital looked at me and said “Jason, Cancer has a way of enhancing your life”.
I did not want this.
I wanted the life I had before.
I wanted everything to go back to normal.
You see, prior to my wife's diagnosis life was good for us, and we were living an enjoyable and happy life.
During this time, I was the clinical director of a recovery treatment program, we were building our dream home, and my boys were thriving in sports and School.
I remember Valerie had just lost 100 lbs. and was beginning to smile again in her life.
It was a life we could be proud of because we worked so very hard to achieve it.
After Valerie’s Initial diagnosis, we were given 2-3 years for Valerie’s life expectancy.
Fast Forward 9 months later, and we found ourselves saying goodbye at her funeral.
This is when I learned "no one or thing can fully prepare you for life’s challenges, trials, and pain".
After the funeral was complete and over, I remember my support from my family and friends quickly disappeared.
I quickly found myself all alone trying to pick up the pieces of life.
It was a hard and lonely time for me.
I remember asking myself, “What happened to all the people that were here for me?”, “Does anyone care anymore?”, “Where is my Team?”, “How will I get through this?”.
I remember saying to myself “Will I Become Happy again?”, "Will I find love again?”, and even “Will I feel Joy again?”.
After the passing of my wife, life began to get difficult.
I found myself more and more depressed, isolated, lonely, anxious, and even struggling to sleep.
Quickly I was overwhelmed with fear as I was swallowed with my thoughts of the future because I realized I was going to have to do this all alone, and that thought was terrifying.
As a clinical therapist, no one taught me about these moments that I was currently experiencing.
No one prepared me on how to deal with or cope with my emotions.
I knew I could help others going through challenging times in their life, but I could not help myself at this time.
As I struggled with my new life, I found myself at my breaking point.
I knew I could not do this alone anymore.
So finally, I reached out to my friends, and family that I thought would have been there for me from the beginning and sent a text asking for help.
That text felt like I had finally accepted defeat and failure.
It used up the last hope I had within me.
I knew in my heart none of these friends, neighbors, or family I had texted would be there, but I had to do something.
Later that day, my heart finally opened up and started to heal as I saw 14 of the 14 people I texted arrived and were ready to help.
I now call these 14 people my “healing team”.
After this meeting each one of them took the initiative to help me in my life.
It turns out every single one of them that showed up had been watching from the sidelines and wanted to help, but were waiting for my permission to come into my life and take over.
I finally felt myself start to breathe, and allowed myself to believe I could find hope and happiness again.
In fact, with the support of my healing team around me, I did something drastic.
I decided to quit my job as a therapist and take the summer off to be with my boys.
Up until this point me and my boys we living off of the sad and unhappy memories of losing my wife and their mother Valerie.
That summer me and my boys reconnected and decided to set a mantra in our lives that "nobody should have to suffer alone".
Afterall, you should not have to go through any difficult journey alone.
So we decided to have a lemonade stand, and raise $100 to create two “hope kits” for people going through a difficult time.
We were shocked and amazed after we had raised enough money to make 25 kits.
As we continued to create and deliver these hope kits, a lady from Virginia asked if she could get one because she was struggling alone.
From there we created a hope kit that truly provided comfort today and hope for tomorrow which could be shipped and begin delivering them to people across the United States.
Currently, we have delivered hope kits across all 50 states and 4 different countries.
My Business partner (Wyatt Ernst) and I have created "The Hope Kit", and as of January 2022, I have stepped away from being a therapist full time so I can help heal those who are struggling alone.
We are now working hard to provide comfort today and hope for tomorrow to those that have lost loved ones, are struggling with Cancer, or are fighting mental health issues.
I love what I do and I love that I truly get to help others who are struggling alone to find some comfort today and hope for tomorrow.