Fundraiser Saturday to help terminally ill father of three
By Matt Hanley firstname.lastname@example.org September 20, 2012 3:12PM
Photo of Jason Cornell's family. Jaclyn and Jason Cornell are the adults. Their children are Liam, 10 months; Caleb, 2, and Noah, 4. | Photo courtesy of EmmeElle Photography
When: 1 to 11 p.m. Saturday
Where: Lion’s Park, 500 S. Fillmore St., Elburn
How much: $10 for dinner and entertainment. Children 3 and under are free.
What: Silent auctions, live entertainment, bags tournament, petting zoo, children’s bounce house, cash bar and more
More information: www.jasonsjourney.org
Updated: November 2, 2012 8:52PM
Five years ago, Jason Cornell got terrible news: he had a brain tumor.
At the time, the Hinckley resident already had been living with multiple sclerosis for about four years, which required regular MRIs. Doctors spotted the tumor during one of the scans.
Days earlier he had been working as an electrician with the IBEW in Aurora. Suddenly, he was going in for brain surgery.
The tumor was caught early, the surgery was a success and the tumor was removed. Cornell and his wife, Jaclyn, started a family: three boys with big smiles and plenty of energy.
Sadly, the story doesn’t end there.
In March, doctors found the tumor had returned. Again, Cornell went in for surgery. But this time, the post-op biopsy came back with incurable Glioblastoma Multiforme. Cornell was told the cancer would kill him.
“Initially, it was like my whole world collapsing,” he said. “It’s not an easy thing to take in.”
Six months later, Cornell is still balancing chemotherapy and MS treatments. While the diagnosis is grim, no one can say how long the 31-year-old Kaneland High School grad has to live.
Cornell has been unable to work since the most recent surgery. He and Jaclyn have been at home enjoying as much time together as possible with their three boys — now 4, 2 and 10-months-old.
“I don’t want to say I’m scared to die, but if that’s the Lord’s will, then that’s what will happen,” he said. “My main concern from day one was my wife and my kids, and are they going to be OK?”
Since the most recent diagnosis, Cornell has been overwhelmed with friends and family who have dropped off food, watched the kids and made donations. People he hadn’t heard from in years — and some people he doesn’t know — have come forward with help.
“People have really lightened our load,” Jaclyn Cornell said. “That has made a huge difference.”
Friends have planned a fundraiser from 1 to 11 p.m. Saturday at Lion’s Park in Elburn to help the family with medical and daily expenses. There will be kids games, food, entertainment and a bags tournament. More information is at www.jasonsjourney.org or at the Jason’s Journey Facebook page.
Anyone who cannot make it to the benefit can make a donation at any Old Second Bank location under the “Cornell Family Benefit Account,” or by mailing to Jason and Jaclyn Cornell, 340 W. Amie Avenue, Hinckley, IL 60520.
Cornell said it would be easy to sit and dwell on the disease. He’s optimistic about his future, no matter how long that may be.
“I never know when the time is gonna come, but I’ve got to be hopeful,” he said. “I want to be the person that makes it the longest of all.”