Remembering Jack Sawyer

Cardinal Nation got some student perspective on what his journey has meant to everyone
Taken from JBS Strong Facebook account. Photographed by Audi Reed
Taken from JBS Strong Facebook account. Photographed by Audi Reed

\Jack Sawyer and his journey fighting cancer was followed by many Mentor students and citizens and had an indelible impact on the Mentor community. Diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Ewing Sarcoma in early 2022, Jack’s battle became an inspiration to all who watched him. After his diagnosis was announced, many would wear JBS Strong wristbands or would decorate their yards with JBS Strong signs to show their support for the struggling teen.

This type of community support was best exemplified at the Mentor High School football game on October 20, a little over a week after Jack announced that he, with his parents, had chosen to stop his chemotherapy treatment. Students swarmed around in the bleachers wearing bright yellow to show their support. Many of these shirts were also labeled “JBS Strong.” Before the game, during which Jack was named an honorary captain and contributed to the game’s coin toss between Mentor and Euclid, his statement was read out towards the united crowd. In the statement, Jack spoke on his PACE mantra, an acronym for Positive Attitude Changes Everything. After adopting the motto through his own journey, PACE demonstrated that even in dark circumstances, remaining optimistic and persevering is truly important.

After his passing on November 5, it now feels necessary to reflect on how Jack has affected and inspired members of the community, as well as those around him in general. Specifically, in Mentor High, those students who knew him closest remember how he’s changed every one of their lives. As much as the voices of the whole community are essential, the voices of students from his school can especially show Jack’s more close and personal impact that came to those who knew him. In this story, quotes are given from students, friends who knew him very well, as well as a quote from his choir teacher Mr. Landry, to display the impact he’s had on the student body and Mentor High as a whole.

Austin Blood (left) and Tyler Shook (right)

Tyler Shook –  “He’s a fighter – everyone says that – but he really fought to the end. There wasn’t a moment where he wasn’t fighting. There wasn’t a day where he said ‘No, this day’s horrible,’ and he wouldn’t fight. Even playing on the Xbox, I could see him in pain. He was fighting to be a normal kid, and every day that’s what he did. His parents say the last week he went to the card show, I think that reached a lot of people in Mentor. Everyone is living vicariously through him, and he’s up there watching everyone and probably smiling down at us, probably planning a few pranks. He was always a prankster. But that’s what he was, always fighting.”

Austin Blood–  “I think that Jack has inspired people to stay strong until the end, and he was a really nice person to be around. I’m glad I got to make a whole bunch of memories growing up, and I think he had a huge impact on the community, and around other communities. Other schools. I’m glad others could show support to him until he passed, and I’m glad everyone came through and supported his family through it all. I think he’ll be remembered years and years from now.”

Adam Adkins

Adam Adkins–  “I’ve known Jack for a while. We met in second grade. Jack was a great friend. Always had a great sense of humor. Always made people smile. We’ve been over his house a few times for Halloween, we’ve wrote cards for veterans. Jack was always uplifting, trying to make the best of the worst situations.” 

Mr. Landry – “Jack was a member of the choir program for six years and over the past couple months, one thing that defined him was just wanting to come in and sing and not wanting to have attention to himself. Just to participate and do what he loved. That showed such a dedication to the choir program just to come in and sing, whether he was in pain, on good days or bad days. Working with Jack has inspired me and the choir program to push ourselves to new levels. The PACE mantra has inspired me through my own life, and I know it’s inspired me and his peers as well. We got to sing with choir composer Eric Whittaker, who’s really well known in the choir community. He signed a piece of music for Jack with a really heartfelt message, which I think meant a lot not only to the Sawyers but our entire choir community as well. I think that the impact that Jack had on all of us really was seen in how we were able to tribute him, not just by making a recording a couple months ago, but honoring him at our funeral service. I think we had over 60 choir members performing in his honor, which shows a lot about what he meant to us and the community at large.” 

Louie DeLisa – “Jack was an overall great kid to be around, he always had a smile on his face.”

Tegan Bergem

Tegan Bergem“No matter where you were with him, he would be laughing with you. He was always there, laughing constantly. No matter the moment, no matter the severity, he would either smile or laugh. Jack had the most fun and happy soul. You never saw him pouting, complaining to anybody, he wanted everyone else around him to be happy. That was what he wanted in life. I think he was pretty successful. He could make anything fun, no matter how boring it was. He made memories memorable, without having to try very hard. He could be himself, and everyone liked it.”

Noah Conley

Noah Conley – I’ve known Jack for a while. In third grade I played football with him. From the first time I met him, he just seemed like a super nice kid. Because we were friends, our families started hanging out, and we went to dinner together and hung out all of the time. Even while he had cancer, we were hanging out with him a lot and trying to support him. He was always a super nice kid, I don’t know anyone who didn’t like him. He was just awesome.” 



Aiden Ritchey

Aiden Ritchey – “Jack has always been positive in every way and his perspective on life was just amazing. We all love him.”

Brian Mignogna (Writer’s statement) – Jack was always the life of the party, no matter who I was with. If he was there, he had more than enough natural energy, which always made up for me being the shy, more introverted kid I was. Ever since I met him in kindergarten and grew to know him, he was always fun to be with. He was fun to talk to, he was fun to do things with. He always knew how to make everything fun and more enjoyable. He was also just really caring and really nice, one of the most down-to-earth and positive people I knew as well. I am sure he was touched by the outreach and the support everyone in the community gave him, and that he would be happy with how everyone has remembered him.

Conclusion: As the community still struggles through this loss, remembering how Jack has had a positive impact on the lives of so many still remains crucial. Seeing how he has lifted up the student body, and how his positive attitude truly has changed everything for not only himself, but all of these people and many more, stands as a testament to him, his character, and what he has left behind.

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