This is Jake's Story...

Jake is a 20-year-old twin who has been diagnosed with stage 4 Rhabdomyosarcoma, a very rare form of cancer. Going through a vigorous daily radiation treatment and weekly Chemo treatments make him extremely tired, weak and sometimes nauseous.

Jake is otherwise a normal teenage kid. He likes playing computer games, paintball, swimming and golfing. He loves hanging out with his four brothers, 4 wheeling, camping, and ruining his mom's laundry baskets while making home videos. He hopes to someday become a computer programmer.

This blog was started to keep his family and friends updated on his status.

Addendum: Jake became cured of cancer, free of pain and everything this world brings on September 29, 2010. He continues his journey in Heaven. He is doing awesome! Hope you're doing the same!

His family thanks you for your generosity in donations, love and service. God has shown us many tender mercies!
Thanks for being one of them!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Jacob Charles Holladay Obituary

Jacob Charles Holladay


Born April 19, 1991, in Salt Lake City, Utah with his best bud, John Matthew Holladay.  He was one of 5 boys in the Holladay family.  Those left behind are his parents, David Owen and Rose Sweet Holladay, brothers Zachary, John, Michael and Spencer Holladay…and their dog, Molly.  Best friends that were like brothers from other mothers…Austin Buchanan and Kyle Joyner.

Jake returned to his Father in Heaven on September 29, 2011...a joyous day for him…a sad day for us.  So happy he is finally free from the awful pain that came with cancer…but we will miss him more than we can express in words.

Jake was diagnosed with cancer on June 15, 2010.  Later we learned it was called Rhabdomyosarcoma (we never heard of it either!)   He started chemo in July, radiation in August, surgery the following June, endured many pokes and pricks and lots of sick days and hospital stays.  He was just applying for college when it all started.  Too sick for school or work, he spent his last year recuperating and enjoying life as much as he could.

As bad as cancer is…the tender mercy it provides is time to say good-bye, time to make more loving memories, time to serve and love, time to laugh, time for extra kisses and hugs, time to bond and seal in our hearts the love and memories we have of Jake.

Jake lived only 20 short years.  He loved to laugh and make others laugh.  He was a good listener to all of his “girl” friends.  He loved being in the mountains, four wheeling, fishing, hacky sack, shooting with dad, paintballing, laser tag, golf, gaming sleepovers…hanging with his bros and buds and pretty girls.  Jake would meet friends all over the country through gaming…of course he liked the girls the most.  He was always texting them and helping them through their challenges.  Jake was known for being a great friend. 

Those who preceded him in death are his Grandpa, John C Holladay, Uncles John and Don Holladay, cousin Thomas Sweet, most recently a favorite great Uncle Jack Bailey…and a cat named Tigger (but we didn’t tell him he died, we just said he ran off!  Maybe he knows now!)

Jake, your little hand prints are in stone in the garden.

I’m sure there are more handprints on the walls downstairs…and your love is imprinted in our hearts…forever.  Thank you for loving us and making it easy for us to love you.  You are one awesome Holladay!  We are proud to call you brother, son and friend!  Our love will always transcend the veil of this earth.  Thank you for watching over us as we try to find our way without seeing you around…without feeling your hugs.  Peaceful journey, my son.

Funeral services will be held Tuesday, October 4, 2011, 11:00 a.m.  Viewing October 3rd, 6:30-8:30 p.m.   1200 East 2178 North, Lehi, UT

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Surrounded by Angels

All this week I have seen and felt angels around the house...and around me when I was at the temple.  There were angels on the roof tearing off the old stuff, and then later putting on a fabulous new roof that will keep us dry and protect us for years to come.  Angels brought us food, snacks and fed those giving us service.  Angels brought tools to accomplish the magnificent task set before them.  Angels came and held my hand and helped me clean and get things back in order.  One beautiful little angel sat at at my counter and circled all the toys she wanted in the ToysRUs ad...making sure I saw every one of them.  Another tiny angel came and snuggled my heart...and drooled and spit.  Still another, fresh from heaven came with a baby snuggle, a smile and a burp.  Little short angels came and jumped on our trampoline and reminded me what it was like to hear the laughter of children.  Then there were those beautiful children and young men and women who came and helped clean up the mess the men were making...and one brave young man was not afraid to jump down in the window well and dig out the years of kids throwing their wrappers and popcicle sticks there...inspite of the spiders!  There were angels who tore off my broken shutters.  Unable to find the right size or style to replace them...another angel had stored exactly what I needed in his garage, for five it could show up for me when I needed it.  Not being the right color, angel Randy took the shutters to his home and painted them...with the paint that was still good...after 16 years of sitting in my garage!  Still, another angel took to putting up doggie prison bars in the two places my dog has been digging and were blocked by boards we had stuck there last winter. 

I told one friend...When we first moved here, Dave and I put the roof on and I was the one who painted the shutters and the door.  I am the one who pulls the weeds, mows the lawn, takes care of the garden and the house.  Now I look at my house and see the love written all over it...and it warms my heart. 

God bless you for your service and love to us.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Happy and Sad at the same time!

Here's an update from after our trip.

Traveling is very uncomfortable for Jake.  Anything but lying down with his legs propped up is a painful experience.  Even carrying him from room to room is too painful.  Everywhere we touch is pained with tumors...except his feet, hands and face.  He still winces when I plant a big wet kiss on his forehead.  When I asked him what he wanted today, listing off food items first, he whispered he didn't want anything, so I said, "A kiss?"  His eyes went all wide and he pulled back a little!  I had a good laugh at that!  Still my Jakey!

The last two days he has spent most of sleeping.  He doesn't eat much...I think the last thing he ate was some soup our friend Jodie brought over on Monday.  The rest is drinking juice.  He has been sleeping with his mouth open and that makes his mouth very dry...(all of his grandparents sleep with their mouths open so he didn't stand a chance! haha) 

I tried to get him on a morphine drip to help with the pain.  He didn't want anything to do with IV's, and when the nurse didn't get the first try to work...he wouldn't let her try again. he manages his pain with pills and I told him when he is tired of the pain, we can hook him up. 

I try to look for the good times to have some serious talks about if he has any preferences on funeral stuff, head stones, etc.  My favorite was:  I win!  You're still in the game.  Be Awesome!  It reminds me of the game of LIFE.  Who ever gets to the mansion first with the most, wins!  He must have found one quick short cut to the finish!

I told my friend today I have come full circle with Jake.  Back to changing diapers, feeding and bathing and trying to make him smile.  When you are birthing, every contraction you wonder if this is this the start of the birth!  Now with each thing Jake is going through I this it?  Is this his time to start his new life...the life I don't get to see anymore?

People have asked if I want Hospice to come in and help.  I'm not sure what they would do better than I can.  When the twins were born, I knew there was no one in this world more fit to take care of my three boys, 22 months and under, than I was.  I had all of the equipment, the patience and the love that they needed.  Now I feel the same way about Jake.  I picture Christ washing the feet of his disciples...wasn't it Peter who wanted him to wash all of him?  It's an honor to take care of Jake.  Why would I want to pass that on to anyone else?  I'm not stressed out about it.  It doesn't make me overly tired...I have the equipment, the patience and the love that he needs.  Some say that the hospice people can help me get through it easier.  God is helping me right now...I don't think anyone can do a better job than Him.  I don't feel the need to pay people to be nice to us...I have the most awesome friends and family already!  Strangers have shown us much kindness!  Even the guy who parks our car at the PCMC valet service (Daniel) prays for us all the time.

Our doctor is awesome about answering questions and keeping in touch and making Jake as comfortable as possible.  She lets me take as much time as I want...even if I'm just telling her something funny that Jake said.  Thanks for your concern and compassion, Dr. Wright!  You are awesome!

We are doing fine!  I try not to look like the person who is waiting for her son to die...although after missing a days shower, a guy at the gym told me I didn't look too great!  What...I wanted to get my workout in before I showered!  We are all trying to live in a happy state.  There will be plenty of time after Jake is gone to be sad.  It is possible to be happy and sad at the same time.  I have to look a little harder to find joy...but it can be done...I asked God to help me see it...and He did.

Good information to know:

If you want to visit Jake (and we welcome visitors...just not a ton at a time) he is usually willing to sit up and talk late afternoon to evening.  Mornings he has been sleeping...alot.  I don't expect to even get coherent words out of his mouth until maybe 1:00 pm.  Note:  Jake especially loves it when the girls (not the Mrs. kind) come visit!

Jake can't digest much food, and like I said, he has just been drinking these past few if you are making a special treat for him, please don't be offended if he doesn't eat any of it.  Brothers have no problem taking care of the treats for's a service they are happy to render!

If you want to do something, but you don't know what would be helpful, please feel free to call, text or comment.  I won't ask...even if you tell me to...but if you ask me I'll let you know.  If you're too far away, prayers are always welcome!  We are praying that Jake can be out of pain and be at peace.  Everyone has been so awesome already!  We wish you many blessings for your kindness to us!

Thanks for your interest in Jake and our family. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Cali trip part 2...

We finally talked Jake into going to the beach.  Someone suggested LaJolla Beach because it was wheelchair friendly.  It took us forever to find it...didn't quite leave early enough in the day.  Getting this crew in the car at the same time is like herding cats!

It was very touching to see these guys pick up Jake's chair at the end of the ramp and just carry him the rest of the way.

I'm not exactly sure what these guys are posing for...silly boys!

Look, Fern and Carrie!  The boys are playing with the toys you brought us!  No one was too bored that they colored in the cowboy coloring book, though!  The board John is holding is a skimming board.  You run, throw the board on the water and jump on it and skim across the water.  John was the best at it, Zack got a few good runs on it.  I tried's harder than it looks.  The first beach we tried it at had too many rocks.  This one was perfect!

Spencer looks on as John gives Zack skimming lessons.

There's how you do it!

Zack got some good rides in!

This as good as it was going to get for Jake.

One of Jake's many funny faces.

The saddest thing for me was that Jake would love to be skimming or making the sand castles or tossing the football with the guys...but he can just sit and watch...very uncomforable for him.

But still...

We have been so blessed by the generosity of friends, family and strangers.  We might not have had the fancy food of a cruise, but the boys got the food the love the most...and I didn't have to cook most of it!  Jake loved being in California with us.  I got a little girl time in...nice run on the beach, some nice Jacuzzi time with Dave and Spencer, sweet one on one time with my Jakey!

Families can be together Forever!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cali trip part one...

Just before we left, Stacy and Brook brought this box of Lucky Charms to Jake!  Lucky Charms is his game name.  Funny! 

The plane ride to California was pretty hard on Jake.  Sitting is not one of his most comfortable positions.  The TSA frisked him going through security.  I wonder what they thought he was hiding in his tumors.

Monday...everyone was so tired from travel we just recooped.  We had the dinner the Beehives made us and it was yummy!  Jake had seconds...which is very unusual for him.

Of course, what trip would be complete without closing the Murphy bed with Mike still in it?!

Tuesday, we walked over to Denny's for breakfast (Thanks Timpsons!), then Jake and John took off to meet Ashley in Alpine.  I guess they had a good visit.  I forgot to pack my swim suit so I had to hunt down a replacement.  Went to Walmart...nothing but bottoms!  Hmmmm!

Wednesday we finally went to play in the ocean.  My friend Missy and her son Andrew brought beach chairs, snacks, CC cookies, boogie boards and toe nail polish and met us Wednesday morning.   Jake was so wiped out from his trip on Tuesday (forgot to take his pain pills with him) that he stayed in bed all day.  Dave stayed with him and the rest of us headed for the beach.  It turns out that Missy is a singer and has 4 or 5 CD's out.  She's the lead singer (beautiful voice) least she was until she moved to California.  Anyway...we had a great time at the beach Wednesday!

Andrew taught John how to boogie board.  The rest of the boys were too chicken to get in the water.  John and Andrew had a blast!

Zack combed the beach for babes!

Spencer was "digging it"!

Mike enjoyed finding treasures on the beach.

Missy covered my bruised toe with pretty pink toenail polish!

Missy and Jake

Our niece, Dana, brought her two older kids to see Jake for a few minutes.  That was a great way to end a fabulous day!

Jake is having a difficult time.  Every day is worse...but today, we are going to try and take him to the beach!  Words cannot express the gratitude we feel for all who donated to make this trip possible.  Thanks you sooo, sooo much!

I walked in and laid on the bed by Jake.  I was going to talk to him about something...but forgot what I was going to say.

Me:  I must be getting Alzhiemers...what was your name again?
Jake:  Hehe....No, that's my name!  Hehe
Me:  Cool!  I'm going to call you that for the rest of the trip!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Brothers by birth...

...Friends by choice.

It is often tender the way John takes care of Jake when they are together...