Yesterday, we paddled out for Jer, with Jer, at his favorite surf spot in Santa Cruz, Rockview.
We didn't say goodbye, because we will see Jer again on the other side.
It was a beautiful tribute to our friend, our loved one. The sun was shining and the ocean was calm. We held hands and shared our love for Jer, before releasing his physical presence to the ocean he loves so much.
Jeremy Montes, Jr. lived every day to the fullest and never let anything stand in the way of him and his goals and dreams. He endured much and maintained a positive attitude through his darkest days.
His spirit lives on in our daily words and actions. When we face challenges with relentless determination, pursue our dreams with passion, and give real hugs, we Live Like Jer.
The outpouring of love and support to Jer and his family over the last two years means so much and will never be forgotten.
Through generosity shown by friends, family, and friends we've yet to meet, Jer's family was able to spend countless days by his side in the hospital. Without your support on the donation site, this would not have been possible.
As you know the gift of time with those we love is the greatest gift of all.
Thank you so very much.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
To all of our friends, loved ones, and supporters we have yet to meet: If you have not yet heard the news, our beloved Jer Jr. left this world last week. He fought a courageous battle and endured without a complaint until his last breath. We will miss him terribly and keep him in our hearts forever.
Please join us as we will gather to celebrate Jeremy Jr's inspiring life at Twin Lakes Church on December 30, at 3:00 p.m. The dress will be Santa Cruz casual, meaning that you should wear whatever you feel most comfortable wearing. On December 31, we will paddle out for Jer at 12:00 p.m. at his favorite spot - Rockview St. - in Capitola. Please plan to come early to find parking.
Good morning everyone... I know its been a while and I have to admit that we have been in such challenging times that we have just taken some time to take refuge, comfort and rest in your support and prayers.
There has been no set date for Jer's return home; it remains his decision. We just maintain our faith in Gods goodness and ability to heal Jer. It is a struggle in itself to stay positive and to have faith, but thru your support and prayers that lift us up at our lowest, we hold on to that and keep moving forward.
Jer says that he wants you all to know that even though its so hard each day, both physically and mentally, he is not giving up...that he us not ready to go.. And that he believes in Gods plan...that there is still a very big work to be done.
Both of his legs are numb from the knees down thru both feet. Walking with a walker is more and more difficult each day..standing is both a mental and physical challenge. His face is still paralyzed and he does speech exercises as part of his training.
Still in his weakened physical state, he pushes forward and gives every day his best effort spirituality and physically. The other night on a brief walk, even after being exhausted from the efforts, he heard me talking with the nurses about a commotion in the hallway with a few of the patients. We were talking about technique and jer reached up and grabbed my arm to show an armdrag to take the back to a seatbelt position... From there he showed the options... So inspired by this his nurse went home and had to google more on this Jiu-Jitsu... Word was spreading down the hallway of how even when jer felt so week he was still able to show technique so clearly that even a non practitioner was able to understand... And more so become inspired.
This is not to say that every day is like this, there are days when frustration is heavy...why won't you work!...wake up! He says to his legs...
In his prayers he apologizes for his slurred speech..that he can not pray clearly.. And asks God to hear him in his silence.
Thank you all for your continued prayers and support. Believe in a miracle! Believe as we do... Believe as Jer does...
You are so much more then friends. I can not thank you enough or often enough for what you are doing to support Jer in this fight. It's because of you that I am able to stay close to his hospital just across the street. There are so many factors in the logistics of this battle; your gifts are keeping the supply line safe and the front line nourished and rested. ...all of which supports Jer during this time where only he can take the fight; it lets us be with him so that he does not feel alone.
Yesterday a package arrived from Bear down at shoyoroll gi company. It contained a symbol of the future that Jer is meant to have. The story of Jeremy Montes Jr. does not end at Stanford Hospital. No way. Thank you, Bear. Your support means more than you know.
Although the last couple of days have been the hardest to endure, Jer Jr. continues to fight this horrible disease.
Here is the latest update from his dad:
His cancer has returned in his brain, his graft was good but the leukemia in the brain was fast and aggressive. His time is in Gods hands. Medicine can not offer any cure. It makes no sense to me why one as lovely and perfect as he be given this...
He asked me if I had fun...these years we had together. I told him, the best years of my life.
He said he didn't want to have to leave me...I told him I don't want to either; ..so we don't give up.
We held each other and I reminded him of what he had told me yesterday...we're not there yet.
We looked at each other and nodded no...it doesn't make any sense. So we don't quit...we never quit.
Please take a moment to send a loving thought to Jer and his family. They sincerely appreciate every person who shares Jer's story and supports his recovery. It is incredible to witness the outpouring of love for Jer. Thank you all so much.
Day +48: Almost half way through the 100 day BMT program; …still admitted here at the transplant unit. He’s had some ups and downs in the week that he’s been back; admitted for pain management due to a viral infection. There’s been several adjustments and attempts with different meds to ease the symptoms; …but it boils down to time… It takes time and his own very immature immune system to clear this virus from his system. There is an anti-viral medication but it is very hard on the liver; …so hard the doctors would prefer not to use it. In the mean time, it’s try different combinations of pain meds at different times of the day; less in the day,…more at night. His IV hydration is continuous to keep the bladder flushing. It’s got to be a storm going on inside of his body with the effects of all of the different meds; not to mention all of the change ups.
The upside is that the GVHD that affected his skin is appearing to be getting under control. To counter it, the high dose steroids that he takes twice a day cause his hands and fingers to shake so much that it’s a challenge to put a piece of paper into an envelope. It even affects his vision; making it difficult to focus. With the rash seemingly under control, the doctors have began to taper down the dose of steroids. It will be a while before the taper is complete; expects several more weeks…but less of the steroids will be good all around; perhaps better sleep…certainly better overall as it is an immunosuppressive drug.
Overall things are progressing, not yet a measurable amount, but he looks better than when he first came back in… At least he is able to sleep…and nap…as he well deserves.
RGBJJ Fresno sent Jer this cool glove signed by Royce Gracie; Jer loved it…he smiled like I hadn’t seen him smile all week. And although he was still in a lot of pain, it subsided enough as he wanted to put the glove on and said, “..oh we have to put this in a cool case!”
We are thankful for his nurses that argue to be assigned to his care; they truly care for him…it’s not just a job.
We are thankful for all of you who send encouraging messages, check in on him, offer uplifting comments and continuously pray. Without all this, all of you…I can’t imagine what his burden would be like.
I’m just thankful for all of the good; even when there’s not a lot of good to see.
We know there’s good in the details…
Day +16: This is the place they spoke of; the real deal, tested to the limits…the hardest thing he will have ever gone thru.
The night was more vomiting, tossing, turning and moaning in pain. Little to no sleep; low platelets led to a midnight nosebleed from blowing his nose. The nurses couldn’t control it, not even with ice, so they had to give him a bag of platelets just to stop the nose from bleeding. They are still amazed that he has not needed more blood products; typically a BMT patient would have had multiple times more blood products…so they are still impressed at his performance through this phase.
The daytime continued with more fatigue and nausea; and now he is vomiting up what looked like bile. A bright yellow mucous type liquid with splotches of blood from his raw gut and esophagus. This is how it goes these days, all through the day; waking to piss hourly and needing help because he is so light headed when he sits up; which in turn is followed by the nausea and vomiting regiment. He said, it smells and tastes like blood when he’s vomiting…
I knew he wanted me to take a picture of him puking because he said so in the beginning of the transplant; but I was too busy grabbing tissues to wipe away the heavy mucous that was still connected to his face stretching into the basin. He laughed and said maybe next time I’ll be fast enough to get the pic. He just wants to have something to look at after this is all done; to see what he went through… After a mouth rinse full of pink spit and dried pieces of skin and blood; he faded to sleep again. The doctors encouraged him to just rest during this time; that everything is going to plan….and his body actually looks very good from all of the calories he maintained up to this point.
Our super-nurse is back on deck; which makes me feel better about having to leave the room until the morning. She continues to show him his measurable progress; breaking down the process and relating the symptoms…explaining his fatigue, nausea, blood work, how the body is working overtime and is doing really well by the results of his white blood count and his ANC is steadily creeping upward. We don’t want it to shoot up; a slow and gradual up-trend is the best indicator of successful grafting.
He feels like constant crap…but he can and is enduring, every moment, every hour of every day. Soft and encouraging music is playing in the room; creating a setting of peace and healing as he rests, eyes closed…I see him open them and we catch a look at each other, smile and nod…and then he slips back into a sleep.
He says how good it is to be able to be with him through this; I can not even imagine being away from him during this time…I’m so thankful that I can be at his side…Thank you all for your prayers and love and support that make this possible for us to be together. I know he will make it though this; this is just the hard part. He will be healthy again; better than before…I know this…I have faith…I believe…just watch and see.
The first 24 hours of the next 100 days has finished... Late last night as he was getting admitted into the Bone Marrow Transplant unit he said, "I'm excited to get this started!"... Knowing the challenges before him he wants engage in the fight... I'm humbled to be able to see his spirit mature even more... I always beamed with pride every time he stepped onto the mats; always eager to start the fight...even when his opponent was twice his size...It all makes sense now...
"Combat" Jer! We're all in your corner cheering you on!
But the bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out to meet it.
The needle in the haystack has been found - a bone marrow trasplant match is confirmed!! This is a huge reason to celebrate and also places a mile marker on the next leg of Jer's journey to full recovery. He still has 3 weeks left in the clinical trail before he can begin the 100 day bone marrow transplant (BMT) process. During the 100 day BMT, he and his family will stay in housing very close to Stanford to be close to his doctors. Thank you to everyone who has rallied to support Jer and continues to do so. There are tough days ahead and we can all make the days brighter for Jer and his family by letting them know that they are never alone in this fight. Jer, if you are reading this, know that thousands of people you have never met are inspired by your courage and keep you in their thoughts and prayers, daily. Never, ever give up; we will never, ever give up on you!
Yesterday was an intense day for Jer and his family and they need our support now more than ever. Jer Sr. asked me to post an update, so here goes.
In the last few weeks, Jer had to deal with staph infection of the blood, a bone biopsy to find a match for his bone marrow transplant, and the Leukemia returning. Jer's cancer has not been cured using the standard methods of treatment. He will now enter a clinical trial, meaning that he is undergoing experimental treatment to suppress the Leukemia so that he can receive the bone marrow transplant. The doctor shared that there is a high percentage of effectiveness for the experimental treatment. He also shared that if this treatment is not successful, Stanford will help them find another hospital that may be able to help. The doctor talked with Jer about how much his state of mind will affect his ability to beat this disease and that staying positive is his #1 priority. Yesterday was a distinct transition into a new phase of Jer's battle with Leukemia. Tears flowed, words of love and encouragement were spoken, and for the first time, I became very angry at this disease that attempts to rob my friend of his future. I want to make it go away, for Jer to wake up tomorrow and tell us about this crazy Leukemia dream he had. But it's not a dream and denying reality won't make it go away. It's time to fight, and this disease has no idea how much fight is in it's opponent. F*ck this cancer. Jer will win. Jer and his family have done a phenomenal job of staying on the bright side, not feeling sorry for themselves, and maintaining a sense of humor during the last two years of hell. They draw strength from each other and the community of supporters who offer words and acts of kindness. Over the next week, I will post some ideas for people who would like to support Jer and his family. Keep an eye on this page for ways to help and please, please keep sending love and encouragement to Jer and his family.
Jer Jr. had a setback this week and is back at Stanford. He is staying positive and feeling the love from across the county. Here is his latest update:
"Bone marrow biopsy came back positive. My last induction chemo didn't work so I'm being readmitted today for another trial with different medications. I need this cancer to clear before my transplant so I suppose this time around is going to be a lil more rough. Still daydreaming of skating, surfing, riding, adventuring with all my buddies; soon enough, soon enough."
Wow!! Only $2, 242 short of reaching the fundraising goal of $20,000! Thank you to everyone who shared the link - let's keep the momentum going for Jer. Jr.!
And now, the latest update on his condition...
"Never knew or even heard of how transplants went about before yesterday. Lil scary because I have little control over a huge amount of it.
Being admitted Monday for a week of induction chemotherapy, hopefully putting me in remission soon. Finding a doner is going to be a very difficult process from what Ive heard. As for the transplant, I'll be admitted a second time for another round of heavy chemotherapy leading up to the transplant. If and when this all goes smoothly, next is just praying that my body takes the stem cells and that the stem cells don't attack my body. Getting way ahead of myself, but if the transplant works then I just pray that the new stem cells are able to fight off my leukemia cells."
6/3/13 Update from Jeremy - He and his family need all the love and support we can give.
Meeting with the transplant team Friday. Being admitted Monday and getting a PICC in my arm again. Time to make nausea and vomiting my daily routine again expecting a 20lbs weight loss along with hair.
I had the option to get a port in my skull for easier access to my spinal fluid since it needs to be tested and infused 2 times a week, but a port inserted in the head is just eeeehhhhh to think about
Doubt I'll be seeing anyone for the next couple months due to induced neutropenia. I'll keep you posted as best as I can here. I'm sorry if I don't text back individually, its not fun having to explain my situation time and time again."
5/30/14 Numb... Just numb... Jer Jr got the worst news today; his leukemia has returned. He had to immediately go in for a bone biopsy. I was on a convoy that had just started; no way for me to come to him. Just sitting in the convoy helpless and unable to be with him; wondering how he is feeling.... Still wondering; still on the road...
5/31/14 Made it home last night in time to hug & kiss him goodnight. Its good to be home although I wished it was all just a bad dream when I woke up. But it was a blessing to see his smiling face this morning thank you all for your prayers and support for Jer. I could not be more thankful for you all.
Now today is a new day. we need an action plan; and get started on it...
For all of you that I told about today being my last chemo treatment, hip-hip-horray and all that good stuff. Now I'm looking forward to my CURE date, the date I ACTUALLY stop chemotherapy, lets see if I can get lucky with 3 years and ill be happy.
I've never been so depressed yet so relieved on a single day. Last day of intensive treatment, but yet i have years of continuous maintained chemo that seems more complicated then what I've already gone through. They label it "maintenance" and preach that you will get your life back, and hearing that really made it easier to get through it all. Like you've heard before, the battle is won, but the war is not over.
Jeremy and his family received over $1,000 in proceeds from the Blues for Jer concert at Pono last week. Thank you so much, Steve Throop, childhood friend and brother for life for organizing the event. Huge thank you to all of the bands and people who came out to support Jer as well.
Call for Volunteers! Jeremy Jr. and his dad were offered a new place to live with greatly reduced rent. They are moving this Sunday and could use help loading/unloading and cleaning the old place (trucks not needed). Please eMail me for the address. Thank you for any time you can give, they truly appreciate the help.
Please join us for the screening of Ocean Odyssey, a documentary filmed in Maui by the Tokyo Broadcasting Systems, features our wonderful oceans and humpback whales in their natural habitat. See the incredible underwater scene of the humpback ballet.
This beautiful film features Dan R. Salden, Director of the Hawaii Whale Research Foundation, and his passion for humpback whales. Also appearing in the documentary is Peggy Stap, Founder and Director of Marine Life Studies.
Peggy Stap had an incredible opportunity to be part of this historic documentary, which demonstrates and educates the people of Japan how research is accomplished by observing "living" whales. Peggy worked in the water with the Japanese film crew while documenting the behaviors of these magnificent creatures.
Check out this awesome fundraiser for Jer. Over $1,000 raised in one cardio kickboxing class. Huge thanks to Billy Bad A$$'s and everyone who attended the fundraiser! Nice video of the event --> http://tinyurl.com/BBACardio
Let's get this guy out of treatment and back on the mat where he belongs!
The next benefit seminar will be held on 4/28 in Santa Cruz. You can pay by credit card on the donation site ( http://www.gofundme.com/JerTapsLeukemia) or with cash at the door. Donations in lieu of attendance are sincerely appreciated as well.
Jeremey Montes, Jr benefit show...It will be an ALL AGES event from 6:30pm to 9pm>>>After 9pm it will become a 21 event >>>20$ @ The door before 9pm>>>10$ After 9pm>>>Kids 5 & under get in free. Chris Rene, Infamous Blue eyes, Paradise & Lee Earl will be performing for the all ages portion of the event>>>Monikape, Alwa Gordon, Death B4 Dishonor, Giant, Cutty Sinclair, Sco, EZSC, MLY Crew, Infamous Blue Eyes & Chris Rene will also be performing later in the evening for the 21 portion of the event. LIVE painting by Skan Arts!>>>Great music for a great cause>>>Come out & support Jeremy, the Montes family
April is a big month for BJJ Seminars and big efforts to support Jer Jr in his fight against leukemia. If you can't make it to the seminar, you can support Jer with a donation on this page. Thank you for sharing with your friends!
A heartfelt thank you to everyone who has donated to Jer's treatment fund. Through your donations, Jer's family is able to provide a level of care that would otherwise be very difficult. Jer will continue to receive chemo for the next 3 - 4 years. Please continue to share the link with your friends and send messages of encouragement. One love.
Dear Friends & BJJ Family,
This is Jeremy Montes Sr; I've got the opportunity to send a message to you today to say that I love you and to Thank you for all that you are doing.
There are so many thanks that I have in my heart for each and every one of you. I want you all to know that every dollar you've sent helps with Jer's treatment, meds, education (he had to withdraw from the public school system) and changes to home life; living with new limitations through his treatment. Your prayers and support go far beyond what you can imagine; each day brings new hope. And in the tough times (and there are many), it lifts our hearts to read all of the words of encouragement that you have to offer.
I wish there was more that I could say or do to express how much you all mean to me; ..to us.
I look forward to the day when I can thank you all in person; with Jer healthy and strong, and give you all a long hug.
Osss... - Jeremy Sr.
"From my family to you my young brother. We are praying for you and your family. This small gift is from a Takedown Clinic we did in your honor. I hope someday to meet you and watch you roll. Be strong and fight hard. There are a lot of folks pulling and praying for you!"
$3,158 raised by 46 people in 7 days! Thank you all for sharing the page link and for your generosity. Donations are coming in from friends and friends of friends who are touched by Jeremy's story and want to help.
Let's keep the support coming...every penny is appreciated and makes life easier for the Montes family.
From Jer's dad... Please let the team know that with their donations, I am now able to stay just across the street from the hospital and can be at his room first thing every morning and return to a place to sleep when he goes down to sleep for the night. Being able to have this is like having a FOB (forward operating base); a place to rest and resupply during the battle. Most importantly, it is only possible because of the support of the team that has mustered together to join the fight.
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