BALLSTON LAKE -- Barbara Williams doesn't want people to remember her son, Jacob Monday, as a young boy who was sick. She wants them to remember him as a hero who approached his life with an always-positive outlook.
Jacob, 16, lived in Ballston Lake and died Saturday from a rare form of bone cancer. He was diagnosed in the winter of 2016 and, for two years, underwent treatment for the painful disease, with round after round of intensive chemotherapy.
At one point, he and his mother thought the cancer was gone for good. But earlier this year, when Jacob went to get his chemotherapy port removed, doctors found spots on his lungs.
Williams said doctors told her that, even with treatment, Jacob’s chances of survival were low, and that there were no options left. After going through another round of tough chemotherapy over the winter, Jacob made the decision to stop the treatment in January.
Jacob instead focused on completing items on his bucket list, including meeting actor Chris Pratt, which he did in April, in New York City. The same month, he received an honorary diploma from the Shenendehowa Central School District.
Jacob's acerbic sense of humor and defiance in the face of worsening odds caused the community to rally around him. His classmates also took part in fundraising efforts for him, and started a hashtag for him to raise awareness of his situation.
"Jacob didn't die as Jacob Monday," Williams said on Monday. "He wanted to die as Shen hero, #shen4monday. He is an amazing kid who was not only a brother, but a father to his brother. He took that role very seriously since their father isn't in their lives."
More than $43,000 was raised for Jacob and his family through online donations.
Over the weekend, support for the family continued through various social media sites, and the school district acknowledged Jacob as well, with a statement released over the weekend.
"It is with great sadness that we report that high school student Jacob Monday passed away this morning after battling terminal bone cancer," read the district's statement. "Jacob was a very special young man who lived life his way and taught us to appreciate all of life’s blessings.The death of a student is always difficult, and children grieve in different ways. With school just ending, the high school administration will be convening on Monday to plan to provide support for students as needed. We extend our deepest sympathy to the family and all those who knew, loved and/or taught this very special young man."
Jacob's funeral service will begin at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Gordon C. Emerick Funeral Home, 1550 Rt. 9 in Clifton Park.
Calling hours will be from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, prior to the service in the funeral home.
Memorial contributions may me made to www.gofundme.com/jacobswishes.