Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • Senior project to aid research

  • Wallenpaupack High School junior and Hawley resident, Liam Cunningham, has organized a Rail Jam in memory of Jacob Grecco, who passed away from cancer. It will take place this Saturday at Ski Big Bear.
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  • — Wallenpaupack High School junior and Hawley resident, Liam Cunningham, has organized a Rail Jam in memory of Jacob Grecco, who passed away from cancer. It will take place this Saturday at Ski Big Bear.
    “A rail jam is inspired by skateboarding,” stated Liam. “Snowboarders and skiers have developed a freestyle approach to riding on surfaces other than snow.”
    He said those include metal rails, boxes, benches, ledges, and walls. Contest participants are generally allowed to take as many runs as time permits, and winners are selected on the basis of skill and the difficulty of tricks.
    The competitive aspect is usually low-key. Skiers and riders "jam" to the music playing in the background.
    Registration begins at 3 p.m. and the competition starts at 4 p.m. The cost is $15. Each paying registrant will receive Knockaround sunglasses and a T-shirt.
    All participants must have a lift ticket and sign a waiver of liability to participate. Helmets are also required to participate.
    Contestants under 18 must have a parent/guardian signature. There will be 30 minute jam sessions on a choice of four features.
    Women's Snowboard will be from 4-4:25; Women's Ski, 4:30-4:55; Boys' Snowboard (15 and under), 5-5:25; Boys' Ski (15 and under), 5:30-5:55; Men's Snowboard (16 and over), 6-6:25; and Men's Ski (16 and over), 6:30.
    Ski Big Bear is offering discounted lift tickets of $15 to all competitors. Those that donate to the cause will be provided with a gold ribbon pin which will earn them a discount in the snack bar.
    “I really appreciate that the community has come together so well and people are willing to help where they can,” said Liam.
    He shared Jacob's story.
    Jacob was seven years old. On the morning of July 12, 2011, he had a seizure. His parents took Jake to the local ER where he had a CT scan.
    They were told that he had a brain bleed. They immediately transferred Jacob to Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown.
    There he had an MRI and a spinal tap. The MRI showed that there was no bleed but that he either had a mass or swelling in his brain.
    They ruled out several viruses but still had no answers. They were sent to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) for a second opinion. On July 22 he had brain surgery/biopsy where they diagnosed him with a brain tumor.
    On July 27 they met with doctors to receive the final pathology results/diagnosis. Jacob had a brain tumor called Gliomatosis Cerebri. This is a very aggressive brain tumor which was treated with chemo and radiation.
    Despite the treatment, as well as love, hope and prayers from his family, friends and his ‘prayer warriors,' Jacob lost his battle with cancer.
    Page 2 of 2 - Jacob earned his angel wings on Aug. 1, 2012 while undergoing alternative treatments in Germany.
    “This event is to honor Jacob and to raise awareness and funds for pediatric cancer research,” Liam stated. “I never had the privilege to meet Jacob. Hisparents are family friends of my parents. Jake's two step-brothers go to Wallenpaupack. His story, and the realization about the lack of childhood cancer research funding inspired me to try to raise awareness and funds in Jake's honor.”
    He said that all proceeds raised will be split between a donation directly to the Grecco/Gravina Family, and C.H.O.P (Children's Hospital of Phillidelphia). Money donated to CHOP will help fund research and help current cancer patients there.
    “I chose to give the money to them because I want to make as big of an impact as I can, and I feel that giving my money to a smaller cause will make a larger impact than if I gave to a bigone (The American Cancer Society, etc.),” Liam said. “I also chose to give to CHOP becausethat was whereJacob received treatment, and I wanted to give back to a place which helped he and his family so greatly.”
    You can visit the facebook page for the event at, www.facebook.com/JibsForJacob.
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