"Never tell me the odds!"
What is Jace Wars?
To put it simply, Jace Wars is an organization that helps fund raise for various charities which include helping families stay together at Ronald McDonald House South Central Ontario and ground breaking research being done on childhood brain tumours and cancers at McMaster University.
Through various family friendly organized events and fundraisers, Jace Wars has raised over $70,000.00 for our various causes.
Why Star Wars?
As a toddler, there were few things that could hold Jace’s attention like Star Wars, Ninja Turtles and the Hulk could. Although Toddler Mutant Ninja Jace and The Incredible Jace sound pretty cool to us, we knew we wanted Jace Wars to mean something more. It was truly Jace’s war to fight, and like a true Jedi he did. When you really break it down, Star Wars is essentially about two things…HOPE and FAMILY. These are the same themes that we hold dearest. We were only able to get through our ordeal because of hope and our family. Star Wars has given us a gift that transcends simple pop culture allowing us a vessel to get through our darkest moments.
Although our organization officially formed in early 2012, our story begins much earlier with an incident that turned our lives upside down. Jace was hitting all the milestones like any other baby his age. He was beginning to walk, have a few words in his vocabulary and continued to grow like any other healthy child. However, about a month after his first birthday we noticed he began to loose his balance a little more often. Although nothing serious, being first time parents, we grew concerned.
After a visit at the emergency clinic, we were assured that it was most likely nothing more than an ear infection. Being prone to ear infections myself, I realized that would certainly affect one’s balance, and our concerns subsided. Call it the Force or a mother’s intuition, but thankfully my wife, Desiree would not let it go. She continued to monitor Jace. Several days later, he was crawling with no use of his left leg or arm and from there his condition quickly deteriorated eventually leaving Jace laying down not moving at all. Desiree insisted on another hospital visit. Although I was upset about another visit to the emergency so soon, I thought better be safe than sorry. I was hopeful for a flu bug prognosis but deep down, we knew something was wrong.
Hours later, we were transferred to McMaster Children’s Hospital roughly an hour away by ambulance. After several tests, a physician asked us to accompany him to a small private room with some couches. I remember this moment vividly as he was accompanied by his assistant and stopped to grab a box of Kleenex on the way avoiding eye contact. It was there that we were told, Jace would not make it through the night.
Our beautiful baby boy was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Doctors were astonished as he should have shown far more signs for being in the condition he was. They explained that he should have stopped eating days ago, but even while we waited for surgery he was laughing, playing and snacking. His strength fooled us all.
He was prepped for an emergency MRI where he would have to stay still for approximately 40 minutes. In our darkest moment, we went to what we know…Star Wars. Keeping any fourteen month old still is a challenge, but this is where his hero, Boba Fett came into play. Jace loved Star Wars and Boba Fett was his favourite character. I explained to Jace that we were going to be riding his ship called The Slave 1, but to pilot it properly, he would need to stay very still at the controls.
The floor beneath us began to shake, the lights were blinking quickly and the hum of the ship became overwhelming. I told my brave boy, “This is hyper space!” The fear left his eyes and awe began to fill them.
Hours later, emergency surgery occurred and after a much needed night’s rest, physicians came in to see if Jace could hold his head up. This was the moment he smiled and began crawling all over his hospital crib. For six long days we stayed at the hospital for monitoring and were fortunate to discover his tumour was not cancer. We were sent home and as quickly as it began, it ended.
As a family we celebrated, loved, laughed and recovered. After a year of recovery and several follow up MRI’s revealing positive news after positive news, we began our mission to give back. Thus, Jace Wars was born.
Jace during his initial surgery at 14 months old and a follow up visit at 2 years of age. He could always be seen in great spirits especially when listening to his favourite band at the time; Gummibar!