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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
November 12, 2014     Feather River Bulletin
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November 12, 2014

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Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014 18 f Jedidiah Lusk is an 8-year-old soccer-playing third-grader when he is first diagnosed with a brain tumor in February 2010. Photo by Leslie Froggatt In the months following his diagnosis, medication ballooned Jedidiah from 67 pounds to 167 pounds, rendering him unrecognizable to many. But that didn't dampen his spirit or prevent him from participating in favorite activities, such as Cub Scouts. Photo by Leslie Froggatt The Lusk family poses in front of their Cromberg home in 2007, three years before the diagnosis that would change their lives. From left: Scott, Cynthia, Jessica, Justin and Jedidiah, Photo submitted Debra Moore Staff Writer ynthia Lusk kept her promise and the result is-herjt~t-released book "Always Remember Me." The promise she made was to her 8-year-old son, Jedidiah, just after he had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. "Jedidiah told me, 'Write a book about me, so you can always remember me,'" Cynthia explained during an interview last week. While the promise was for her son, the book is actually her gift to the community. It's her way of saying thank you for the outpouring of support that she and her family received during Jedidiah's illness. Jedidiah was diagnosed with a brain tumor Feb. 14, 2010, and died less than a i i,ii Cynthia Lusk shares her book with Jedidiah's classmates who were in the fourth grade when he died, but are now eighth:graders at Quincy High. From left: Aaron Crews, Sylvia Wood, Kyle Tilford, Parker McMaster, Parker Carey, Chris McEIroy (holding book), Parker Casery (behind McEIroy), Mikey Bruce, Coach Mike Woodley (standing back), Cynthia Lusk, Halley Tilford, Corbyn Roskinen and teachers Julie Hochrein and Helene Lemnah. Hochrein taught Jedidiah in fourth grade, and Lemnah taught him in third; both teachers also contributed to the book. Woodley coached Jedidiah in basketball. Photo submitted year later on Jan. 3, 2011. I I During that time he swelled I ALWA J(S I from a 67-pound third-grader to 167 pounds (a side effect REMEMBER ME from medication), was confined to a wheelchair and gradually lost most of his senses, but the living that he packed into those 11 months is remarkable. The book is a compilation of narrative by Cynthia, blog postings by her and daughter Jessica written during Jedidiah's illness, Bible verses and stories that friends and family wrote about him. Especially poignant is the series of letters that Cynthia wrote to her son after his death. Many in the Quincy area know the story of Jedidiah and they will see themselves in the pages of this book. It's a book that took Cynthia a couple of years to compile and a few weeks isolated in a cabin to complete. Once she found a The following is an excerpt from "Always Remember Me." Cynthia is writing about Feb. 14, 2010, the day she took her son to the emergency room at Plumas District Hospital, hoping that his symptoms merely stemmed from the flu. publisher, the actual printing process took just eight weeks. Cynthia chose Westbow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson & Zondervan, a Christian publishing house. The book is available in hard cover and paperback at Epilog Books in Quincy or on Cynthia took Out a small loan to publish the book, but isn't worried about making money on it. In fact, she has been giving copies to people CYNTHIA LUSK couple of weeks to live. ' While the book chronicles pockets, they were all little testament to the family's "The doctors were all his illness and death, it also boy treasures and it made me faith and belief that they will The cover a rt for "Always glum," Cynthia recalled follows the lives of his family cry! I found some wood chips be reunited with Jedidiah. Remember Me" is a "My self-portrait that Jedidiah when they t01d Jedidiah that members in the days and from the elementary school faith is the on/yreal d few d u r i n g a rt in M rs. they had done all they could, months after his passing, playground, a collection of thing that carries me through Lemnah's third-grade class. "He didn't let them get him Cynthia shares the time she small, pretty rocks, a'pencil my grief," Cynthia said. Photo submitted down. He said, 'I'm still alive spent going through some of eraser, a little, round bouncy "When times are tough, and I right now,' and showed them his belongings and findingball, and a piece of an orange get sad and depressed I can pictures of his recent trip.'" the pair of pants that he wore peel." always rely on God to be as a special thank-you note. He survived six months shortly before he became ill. She also details his there for me." "It wasn't for profit; it's longer than the doctors "I discovered a pair of your memorials -- the huge one While those who knew the just to tell his story," she predicted, little boy sized Wrangler attended by hundreds, and Lusks or live in the area will said. "It was remarkable," jeans in the corner. They the private one attended by be able to relate to this book, Yes, it's a tearjerker, not a Cynthia said. "He went towere a faded blue, and onejust his family members atit's a read that transcends book to be read unless there school; he participated in knee had ahole, ripped the Chicken Tree (a special place. is a tissue box nearby, but it activities." across the front. It looked as family place), near their It's the story of a little boy is also uplifting. The The family spent as much if you had just taken them off home in Cromberg. who is dying and the strength indomitable spirit of such a time together as possible, and threw them in the corner In addition to Cynthia, of his family and the young boy and the unfailing even camping and traveling, last week, but I know it must father Scott, older siblings compassion of a community devotion of his familY shine Jedidiah knew he was going have been last year -- the last Justin and Jessica, and who rally around him. through the sorrow, to die and he wanted to live of January or first week of grandmother "Blue Nanny" In July 2010, Jedidiah and every minute. February -- before we gathered at the tree. His Sharing the book his family learned that "We never hid it from discovered your brain siblings' tributes in the book Parker Carey, a classmate radiation and chemotherapy him," Cynthia said. "We tumor," Cynthia wrote, to their little brother reveal of Jedidiah's, walked into the had been ineffective in talked about it and whether "There were still things in strength and insight beyond Quincy High School library treating his tumor and the he wanted to die in a hospital the front pockets! I removed their years. doctors gave him just a or at home. He chose home." what you had put in the The Bible verses are See L usk, page 12B