ATHOL SPRINGS, N.Y. (WIVB) – Jason Jablonski, 21, had everything going for him when he was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia in August. To the St. Francis community, he’s known as “JJ.” His mom tells us he was a born leader.
And even though he lost his battle with cancer, even in the end, his family tells us he stayed optimistic and always had a smile on his face. Jason Cretacci coached Jablonski for years at St. Francis High School.
he said, “We use this term a lot at St. Francis, but he is a model St. Francis gentleman.”
An all star student there, he was asked to play ice hockey at The Naval Academy. He said, “The Naval Academy in of itself has a tendency to gravitate young men who are naturally leaders young in life. I knew he would fit right in there.”
And he did.He was named captain of his hockey team, a natural leader. Cretacci said, “He just exuded leadership unlike any other kid I had ever met. At such a young age.”
They say the worst things happen to the best people. Jablonski was diagnosed with leukemia in August. While getting treatment outside Baltimore, he got an infection, and never recovered.
He passed away on Sunday. Lori Jablonski said she couldn’t be more proud of her son. She said, “He never gave up, the entire hospital is falling a part right now.”
Jablonski was as an “eternal optimist” despite battling cancer. She said, “He just wanted to make other people happy. He wanted to make other people smile. That was extremely important to him.”
She said, “That is what he dedicated his life to. Everything you think of when you describe a good, genuine leader is what would describe him.”
Back at St. Francis, teachers hope students there now follow the example and legacy he leaves behind. She said, “I see bits and pieces of Jason in other students,but the whole Jason, there was only one JJ. It’s hard to duplicate that.”